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Militiamen attack protesting Iranian students

| Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009

BEIRUT -- Pro-government Basiji militiamen stormed the campuses of two universities in the Iranian capital of Tehran and attacked hundreds of protesting students Tuesday, and Iran's chief prosecutor vowed to come down harder than ever against peaceful demonstrators he described as a threat to the nation's security.

Tehran University remained under lockdown a day after thousands of students across Iran defied tough security measures to stage anti-government demonstrations. Smaller protests continued yesterday at that campus and at Shahid Beheshti University.

At least 169 men and 39 women were arrested in Monday's mass protests of the June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh told the Iranian Labor News Agency. He added that the Basiji were not involved in any operations Monday.

Yesterday, plainclothes security personnel on motorcycles surrounded the downtown office of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who dared them to act. "You are officers," he told them, according to his Web site, Kalamehnews.com. "If your mission is to kill, beat or threaten me, go ahead."

The militiamen dispersed.

A loose network of activists around the country have begun printing posters promoting the next round of rallies to coincide with centuries-old annual Muharram religious ceremonies this month commemorating the martyrdom of the Imam Hossein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and among the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.

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