In Iran, the Opposition Is Disappearing Through Force - NBC Connecticut

In Iran, the Opposition Is Disappearing Through Force



    Determined Triathlete Never Lost Hope
    AFP/Getty Images
    Supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi throw stones at riot police during a demonstration in Tehran.

    Nearly two weeks after what is widely considered a flawed presidential election, the Iranian government continues its brutal crackdown on protestors. Their latest tactic seems one of to be removing agitators.

    The family of Neda Soltan, the girl whose death was captured on film and used as a rallying point for the opposition, has been evicted from their home, according to The Guardian newspaper.

    "We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbor of the family told the newspaper.

    The opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi reports another strongarm move by the government on his official Web site. Mousavi claims that his access to people is being restricted and that he is being pressured to withdraw his election challenge.

    According to his Web site Kalemeh, Mousavi said there were "recent pressures on me aimed at withdrawing" the challenge."

    Furthermore, 70 university professors were detained in


    in a widening government crackdown on protesters, according to a Web site affiliated with Iran's key opposition figure,

    Mir Hossein Mousavi

    , who says he was robbed of victory in a rigged presidential election.

    The professors were detained on Wednesday, immediately after meeting with Mousavi, said the Kalemeh site, which is affiliated with the opposition leader. The report said it is not clear where the detainees were taken.

    Hundreds of protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the June 12 vote, in which Iran's ruling clerics declared hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide.

    The government has also set up a special court to deal with the cases of people arrested in more than a week of unrest and threatened harsh sentences.

    Widespread protests erupted after the election, amid allegations of massive fraud. Since then, at least 17 people have been killed as authorities gradually intensified their crackdown.

    The state-owned newspaper, Iran, reported Thursday that in addition to the 17, seven members of the pro-government Basij militia were killed in post-election clashes, and dozens more injured by weapons and knives. The report could not be independently verified.

    The professors detained Wednesday were believed to be among a group that has been pushing for a more liberal form of government. The detentions signal that the authorities are increasingly targeting members of Iran's elite.

    In recent days, demonstrators have found themselves more and more scattered and struggling under a blanket crackdown that Mousavi's wife compared to martial law.

    In clashes Wednesday near Iran's parliament, thousands of police crushed hundreds of Mousavi supporters, using tear gas and clubs.