Anti-regime rallies held in Iran
Iranian opposition activists have held protests in several parts of Tehran yesterday, marking the first anniversary of the arrest of two of the movement's main leaders. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were put under house arrest last year after backing a major protest.
Ahead of the "Iranian Spring" rallies, security forces were deployed throughout the capital. A number of people were arrested in one of the city's main squares.
Demonstrators gathered in Freedom Square and St. Jamal Zadeh in central Tehran. Eyewitnesses said security forces used tear gas and batons. Shiraz, Ahwaz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad and other cities were the scene of demonstrations which condemned repression and called for a comprehensive change in the Islamic Republic.
Protesters set fire to tires and garbage containers. Others removed posters containing pictures of Imam Khomeini, the late leader and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader. They demanded the release of Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
The demonstrations on Tuesday were the first challenge to the regime since the mass rallies last year in which Mousavi and Karroubi voiced their support to the Arab Spring.
The rallies come amid severe economic crisis and the collapse of the value of the local currency against the dollar. According to some reports, a number of senior religious figures, sent a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling for the sacking of those responsible for the current economic crisis in the country, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.