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Iran arrests 170 over vote protests

world Updated: Jun 14, 2009 16:52 IST

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Iran has arrested around 170 people over the massive post-election protests and street riots in Tehran, the city's deputy police chief said on Sunday.

"Ten people considered the masterminds of the rioting have been arrested and more will be rounded up soon," Ahmad Reza Radan told the official news agency IRNA.

He said another 50 people accused of orchestrating the rioting that swept through Tehran on Saturday after the disputed reelection of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been arrested, along with another 110 people who were on the "margins" of the demostrations.

Radan said several people arrested were politicians who had judicial warrants issued against them.
"There were also some who had criminal records. They were organised to take part in the unrest," he said.

Tehran has witnessed fierce protests since Saturday as supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi took to the streets to protest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Radan said the protestors were being "confronted firmly," even as fresh violence erupted on Sunday between around 200 stone-throwing protestors and police firing tear gas.

"Forces used tear gas in some areas to stop the unrest. The situation is under control," he said on state television.