Source Pravda.Ru

Iran: Death Toll from Anti-Government Protests Stands at Eight

In the wake of opposition protests Iranian s ecurity forces have arrested a number of prominent critics of the government.

Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister in the early months of Iran's 1979 revolution, and Emadeddin Baghi, a human rights campaigner and journalist, were arrested on Monday, according to the pro-opposition Rahesabz website.

There were also reports that two aides to Mohammad Khatami, a former reformist president, and three advisers to of Mir Hossein Mousavi, an opposition leader, were detained.

Security forces reportedly stormed a series of opposition offices in an apparent crackdown following fierce clashes at street protests during the Shia Muslim commemoration of Ashoura, Aljazeera.net reports.

It was also reported, Hossein Mousavi 's nephew Seyed Ali Mousavi was among those killed in Sunday's violence, the worst since June's contested elections.

Family members say they are being prevented from holding his funeral because his body has been taken from the hospital where it was being kept.

His brother, Seyed Reza Mousavi, is quoted by the reformist website Parlemannews as saying: "Nobody accepts responsibility for taking away the body... We cannot have a funeral before we find the body."

Other opposition sources say the body has been taken by government agents in order to prevent his funeral becoming a rallying point for more protests.

Foreign media face severe restrictions in Iran and these reports cannot be verified, BBC News reports.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Sunday's anti-government protests in Tehran stood at eight, the country's Supreme National Security Council said.

With tight restrictions on international media, CNN could not independently verify the casualties that were reported Monday by state-run Press TV.

The Press TV report did not say how many others were arrested. But earlier, Iran's Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan said on state television station IRINN that more than 300 were taken into custody.

Opposition Web site Rahesabz.net reported the arrests of at least three figures from the reformist movement and also noted that Tehran's text messaging system had slowed to a crawl with the outbreak in violence.

The toll was the result of clashes that broke out between demonstrators and security forces as large crowds gathered for Ashura, a major religious observance, CNN reports.

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