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Prominent Iranian Activists, Students Among Detained

Protesters throw stones at riot police during an antigovernment demonstration in Tehran on February 14.
Protesters throw stones at riot police during an antigovernment demonstration in Tehran on February 14.
Well-known Iranian political figures, activists, and journalists are among those being held in Tehran following antigovernment protests on February 14, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Dozens of people were reported to have been arrested during the protests, the biggest in more than a year, which saw clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

But even ahead of the rallies -- inspired by the recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia -- authorities took a number of prominent figures into custody in Evin prison.

They include former cabinet member Mohammad Hossein Sharifzadegan, journalist Meysam Mohammadi, dissident cleric Mostafa Mir Ahmadizadeh, and former parliamentarian Yadollah Eslami.

Ali Bagheri, a member of the reformist Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, was arrested on February 14 after being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry. Bagheri used to serve as the Interior Ministry's political director when Mohammad Khatami was president.

Another Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization member, Abdollah Naseri, was detained February 13.

Sajad Veis-Moradi, a former member of Iran's largest reformist student group, the Office to Foster Unity, told Radio Farda on February 14 that a large number of student activists have been arrested since last week.

Javid Fakhrian, an activist and member of Mir Hossein Musavi's election campaign during the disputed 2009 election, was detained on February 12, Veis-Moradi said.

Tehran University students Zahra Sharif and Zahra Eftekhari and a number of student activists at Azad University in Ghoochan (in Khorasan Province) have also been arrested, he said.

Peyman Aref, a law student who had been barred from continuing his education because of his political activities, was arrested on February 11 for the second time since the June 2009 election.

Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said the arrests were carried out for "security reasons."