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Iran Official says 35% of protest detainees counter-revolutionaries, hooligans

An Interior Ministry official said in Tehran on Monday that over 250 people were arrested in the recent unrests in Tehran of whom 35 percent were counter revolutionaries and hooligans, IRNA reported.

The Deputy Interior Minister for Political and Security Affairs li Asghar Ahmadi added "all those arrested, with the exception of about 35 percent who are counter-revolutionaries and hooligans, have been freed."

He said these people have been handed to judicial officials and will be interrogated to determine their possible offenses.

Ahmadi said that the police had cracked-down on counter-revolutionaries as well as plaincloth vigilantes groups.

"Some of the latter and their ring leader Saeed Asgar have also been detained."Ahmadi said.

He added that the activities by the vigilantes have been significantly reduced in the past two nights adding "Asgar should be put on trial."

He further said no one supports these wayward vigilantes, "although they may on occasions introduce themselves as part of the Basij (Volunteer) Forces or Islamic Revolution Guards Corp.

On Saturday, a student association, affiliated to volunteer Basij militia, warned 'vigilantes' against attacking students and their residences and said such raids could lead to playing to the hands of enemies.

The Collegiate Basij Association of Tarbiat-e Modarres University said in a statement that the attacks were orchestrated by 'a handful of unidentified individuals' following student riots in protest against possible privatization of universities.

"Such illegal actions are pursued along the lines of riots and ultimately benefit the enemies of the establishment," it said.

The Iranian capital has witnessed a wave of protests since Tuesday following a peaceful gathering of students in protest to proposed privatization of universities.

Officials have been quick to condemn the unrest and speculate that foreign hands were involved to incite the protests.

Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari has vowed that relevant institutions would deal with 'hooliganism and illegal gatherings'.

... Payvand News - 6/17/03 ... --

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