Violent clashes erupt between rival factions in Tehran

A demonstration today in front of Tehran University led to violent clashes between the regime's hostile factions, reports from Tehran say.

Pro-Khatami demonstrators gathered in front of the university and displayed support for Gholam Hossein Karbastchi, the mayor of Tehran who was arrested last week for embezzlement. As they marched towards the Ministry of the Interior, the protesters were attacked by anti-riot units and beaten up across from Laleh Park, in central Tehran. A large number were arrested and taken away on bus to unknown locations.

Rahim Safavi, Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, had earlier warned that he would dispatch his forces to quell the demonstration, if any rallies were staged in support of Karbastchi.

Rival factions also clashed, broke the windows and tore off posters at a pro-Karbastchi exhibition at the Ministry of the Interior, where Fa'ezeh Rafsanjani was addressing the crowd. She was forced to cut short her speech and escape the scene.

In another development, rival factions clashed and chanted slogans against each other at a gathering at Tehran University's school of Technology.

As the meetings between the heads of the three branches, held upon Ali Khamenei's instructions, have not yet borne any results, and the Court of Appeals rejected the Tehran mayor's appeal to be released, the Majlis met this morning in a closed-door session to review Karbastchi's case.

Abdollah Nouri, the Interior Minister and one of the main supporters of Karbastchi, has been summoned to answer questions at Majlis, tomorrow. A state-controlled daily wrote that instead of trying to calm the situation, the Interior Ministry has become a center for organizing unrest.

Today's clashes in Tehran signal an acute stage in the power struggle within the regime which is raging out of control. In recent weeks, similar clashes have erupted between rival factions in other cities across the country. Such open confrontations between the rival factions has weakened the mullahs' regime in its entirety.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 14, 1998

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