Iranian security forces clashed with opposition protesters gathered Wednesday for a memorial for the country's most senior dissident cleric, reformist Web sites reported. The gathering at the main mosque in the central city of Isfahan, 325 kilometers southeast of Tehran, was meant to honor Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who died Sunday.
More than 50 people were detained Wednesday in Isfahan, including pro-opposition cleric Masoud Adib, who was expected to address the gathering at the mosque, the Salaamnews and Parlemannews Web sites said. Mourners poured out in thousands into the streets leading to the mosque, although anti-riot police and pro-government Basij militiamen had blocked the neighborhood, the Web sites reported.
Parlemannews conveyed that Basij beat people, including women, and used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. It said troops also surrounded the home of Ayatollah Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, a senior reformist cleric who organized the memorial.