Iranian police said on Wednesday that they are still holding 300 of the 500 rioters they detained on Sunday when opposition supporters staged protests during the Shiite "Ashura" religious commemoration. Police chief Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghaddam vonveyed that the 500 figure did not represent the total number of people arrested during Sunday as other security agencies had also detained protesters.
"On that day, 500 of the rioters were arrested and after investigating their cases, 300 are still held by the police," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadi Moghaddam as saying. "Not all the arrests were carried out by the police, and other entities like the ministry of intelligence and Basij (Iran's volunteer militia) have also arrested rioters, so the final count will be announced later."
He made these comments as the Majlis (Parliament) started its closed session to review the riots. Seven people were killed, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Ja'fari Dolatabadi told reporters on Tuesday.
According to Ahmadi Moghaddam, 120 policemen were wounded during the protests, of whom 60 remained in hospital. The police chief said that his officers would now adopt a policy of zero tolerance. "The police had tolerated the rioters before Ashura, but now that the rioters have shown their allegiance to movements trying to topple the regime, there will be no more tolerance and they will be dealt with severely," he said.
"Some of those who were arrested before were dealt with with tolerance and were freed. "But we will not tolerate those arrested on Ashura day and they will not be released until the investigation into their cases has been completed."