Clashes erupt for second day in Iran - opposition

EHRAN (Reuters) - Security forces fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters in central Tehran on Sunday, during a second day of clashes in the Iranian capital, an opposition website said.

The Jaras website said protesters set one police motorbike on fire in downtown Tehran. A plume of black smoke could be seen above the centre of the city, it added, as police blocked streets in the area and clashes intensified.

"There are sporadic clashes in different parts of downtown Tehran, including the Khark street ... There is a mass presence of protesters. Their number is increasing," Jaras said in a report that could not immediately be independently verified.

The authorities have warned the pro-reform opposition against using a two-day major Shi'ite Muslim religious mourning ritual on December 26-27 to revive protests against the clerical establishment, six months after June's disputed election.

Police helicopters were seen flying overhead in Tehran.

Jaras earlier said hundreds of riot police were deployed in central Tehran to prevent demonstrations planned by opposition supporters during Ashura, when Shi'ite Muslims commemorate the 7th century death in battle of a grandson of Prophet Mohammad.

"Hundreds of police, riot police and security forces are at Haft-e Tir Square, Enqelab Street and near the main Bazaar," it said.

In a show of defiance, the moderate opposition had urged its supporters to gather in central Tehran on Su... >>>

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