Uprising Returns to Iran; Fate of Opposition Leaders Unknown

Iranian riot police fired tear gas at protesters Tuesday evening as the fate of opposition leaders remains unknown. Iran denies they were jailed.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 18:43

Iranian Protests (2009)
Iranian Protests (2009)

Iranian riot police fired tear gas at protesters Tuesday evening as the fate of opposition leaders remains unknown.

"Security forces and people in civilian clothes clashed with demonstrators in Tehran to disperse them," the opposition website Kaleme reported.

Kaleme and other opposition websites have said that former presidential candidates Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have been jailed, but Iranian authorities insist they are under house arrest. They have not been seen in public for two weeks, when they called for a rally that attracted thousands of people in support of uprising in the Arab world.

Iran denies that Mousavi and Karoubi were jailed. “These two are presently in their own homes and restrictions have been imposed on their contact with suspicious elements,” Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted by the semi-official Fars News Agency as saying on Monday.

Fars described defeated presidential candidates Mousavi and Karroubi “as the leaders of the sedition movement" for their role in the post-vote unrest last year, when hundreds of protesters were killed or “disappeared” as Basij militiamen, Hizbullah terrorists and Iranian Revolutionary Guards helped riot police brutally suppress demonstrations.

He warned that tougher measures would be taken against the "domestic counter-revolutionary movement, which has gone beyond sedition and turned into [a] counter-revolutionary [one].”

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated several days ago, "Moussavi and Karoubi and their wives have been disappeared; they are being held incommunicado in an unknown location, a severe breach of Iranian and international law."

"Given the lynch mob-like calls for their execution by numerous Iranian politicians and clerics, there is reason to be deeply concerned for their safety and well-being," spokesman Aaron Rhodes said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Iran of killing demonstrators. At least two protesters were killed two weeks ago.

The government has banned foreign journalists from reporting on the protests and has denied visas to new journalists.