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Police arrest 520 people in Tehran unrest: press

Police have arrested 520 people, including 18 women with records for repeated offenses, in Tehran in connection with recent unrest here which also affected several other cities, press said Sunday, IRNA reported from Tehran.

It cited provincial police chief, Brigadier General Mahmoud Japalaqi, as saying that only 10 of those arrested were students and the rest included "thugs and hooligans".

Among those arrested is an agent, as well as two accomplices, who worked for "foreign countries" and passed information to foreign televisions, the Persian daily Mardomsalari cited the official as saying.

The detainees are aged between 17 and 25, most with "no social identity", who had consumed alcohol and ecstatic chewing gums before the riots, Japalaqi said.

"The instigation of these youth by foreign agents is totally clear and we will not allow America and Israel cause disorder in the country," the official said, the press added.

18 police personnel were also injured in scuffles, Japalaqi added.

The official regretted that several plain-clothes vigilantes had assailed the students as he appealed to the public to lodge their suits with police stations if they have any claims against the attackers.

Mardomsalari also said that seven members of the Islamic Students Association of Shahid Beheshti University had been summoned to the revolutionary court in connection with recent riots.

The paper, however, cited a member of the association as claiming that 55 students of the university, including eight girls, had been summoned.

The paper also reported protest gathering of about 400 students at Allameh Tabatabie University on Saturday, under the watchful eyes of plain-clothes elements, who brandished batons.

The reports came as Tehran police chief, Morteza Talaie, said here Saturday that maximum security had been restored following several days of unrest.

"From our vantage point, there is no security problem in the country and the society remains now at the peak of being secure," he told a gathering to mark the national 'guilds day'.

Talaie vowed that police would "stand up with full force to those who seek to jeopardize the country's security".

The official said the troubles were instigated by "those who used to serve (former Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein and America ... and now are provoking the people through televisions which are financed by Americans".

Persian-language TVs, broadcast by Iranians mostly based in Los Angeles, were fervently exhorting the nation to riot during several days of unrest in Tehran and several other cities.

Earlier in the day, State Prosecutor General Ayatollah Abdon-Nabi Namazi said that an unspecified number of people had been detained in connection with the recent unrest in Iran as he vowed tough action against the instigators.

"The agents responsible for the unrest, who have caused public insecurity, will be confronted with force," he told reporters.

Namazi's pledge came as the former Judiciary head, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, called on Iranian courts to treat rioters as 'enemies of God'.

Namazi repeated other Iranian officials' statements about 'blatant interference of foreign governments' in Iran's internal affairs.

US praise for recent unrest in the Islamic Republic has infuriated Iranian officials who have played down the significance of the troubles and accused the West of hyping them up.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Washington was behind the riots in the Islamic Republic and urged the nation and state officials to remain vigilant.

The first unrest broke out on June 10 following a peaceful gathering of students in protest to the alleged privatization of universities.

Sporadic troubles continued later in capital Tehran as well as the central city of Isfahan, southern Shiraz, northwestern Tabriz and western Kermanshah.

... Payvand News - 6/22/03 ... --

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