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Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran #IranElection

Wall Street Journal reports on mass arrests of disenters in Iran, the violent beating of students by police shortly after the election, and Iran’s complaints of U.S involvement. Iran Arrests Reformers as Huge Protests Continue

The Iranian government, meanwhile, accused the U.S. for the first time of interfering in the postelection dispute. Iran protested to the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. affairs in Iran because the two nations have no diplomatic ties. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Barack Obama stands by his defense of principles such as the right of people to demonstrate.

On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people packed a major throughway in central Tehran for a fifth straight day of protests to support reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has accused the government of rigging the election in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

At the same time, security agents rounded up three more prominent figures affiliated with Mr. Mousavi. The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has told Mr. Mousavi to pursue his demands through the electoral system and urged Iranians to unite behind their Islamic government.

Mr. Mousavi through his Web site called for a mass rally Thursday to protest election results and violence against his followers, even as the country’s military force warned Iranian Web sites and bloggers to remove objectionable material.

One medical student said he and his roommate blocked their door with furniture and hid in the closet when they heard the militia’s motorcycles approaching. He heard the militia breaking down doors, and then screams of anguish as students were dragged from their beds and beaten violently.

When he came out after the militia had left, friends and classmates lay unconscious in dorm rooms and hallways, many with chest wounds from being stabbed or bloody faces from blows to their heads, he said. The staff of the hospital where the wounded students were taken, Hazrat Rasoul Hospital, was so shocked that they went on strike for two hours, standing silently outside the gate in their white medical uniforms.

The wave of detentions of dissidents began soon after President Ahmadinejad was declared re-elected by a wide margin in Friday’s vote. Among the long list of the hundreds of people detained this week have been former lawmakers, cabinet members, journalists, bloggers, political analysts and advisers, student activists and lawyers.

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