Crowds attack home of Iranian opposition leader

Pro-government militiamen attacked the home of an Iranian opposition leader with homemade bombs and beat one of his bodyguards unconscious, an opposition website reported, in an apparent attempt to keep him from attending a key rally today.

Mahdi Karroubi's guards had to fire gunshots in the air to clear crowds that broke down the door of his home on Thursday night after days of gatherings outside, said the Sahamnews website, which supports Iran's pro-reform movement.



The report said the attackers were members of the plainclothes Basij militia that led the crackdown on the protests that swept the country in response to allegations of fraud in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's June 2009 re-election. Karroubi was one of the pro-reform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad.



Crowds again encircled Karroubi's residence on Friday, as Iranians filled a central Tehran square for the annual state-sponsored rally known as Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day.



The government uses the occasion as an anti-Israel outpouring and to show its support for the Palestinians. But last year, Karroubi and other opposition leaders used the day to gather tens of thousands of their own supporters into the streets, and violent clashes broke out with security forces.



Crowds of hard-line protesters have gathered at the gate of his building for several days, apparently because they believed he would try to attend the rally again this year, though none of the opposition leaders has called for demonstrations.



Karroubi's son, Hossein, told The Associated Press Friday that dozens of hard-liners were continuing to damage the opposition leader's home and that police were not responding to the scene.



President Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, addressed the Tehran rally, saying Israel and its supporters are too weak to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.



Israel, the United States and other nations believe Iran intends to develop atomic weapons under the cover of its civil nuclear power program. Iran denies that, saying its nuclear work is only for peaceful purposes.



Gatherings for Quds Day were also held in other cities around the country.



Karroubi, a cleric, and Mir Hossein Mousavi were the two pro-reform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad in 2009. Mousavi claims he won the election but that it was stolen from him through massive fraud.



On Friday, Mousavi condemned the attack on Karroubi's home, saying it proved the government's "enmity against Israel is an excuse" for attacking opposition figures. "Karroubi and figures like him and other freedom-seekers are the real enemies of authoritarians."



On Thursday, Tehran police chief Gen. Hossein Sajedinia told the semi-official Fars news agency that police forces would be deployed in several parts of Tehran to maintain security during the rallies.



The opposition has not held any street demonstrations since February and canceled plans for a rally on the anniversary of the election.



Since the vote, authorities have detained thousands and tried scores on charges of fomenting postelection unrest. More than 80 of them were sentenced to prison terms from six months to 15 years. Ten were sentenced to death, and their cases are being appealed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test