Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Iranian authorities have arrested several inner-circle members of opposition leader Mir-Hosain Mousavi, a day after violence rocked central Tehran and spread to some other cities.

Opposition politician Ebrahim Yazdi, a former Foreign Minister and his nephew, Lily Tavasoli, were among the detained. Mr. Yazdi is the leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran.

The opposition website Parlemannews reported that three aides to Mr. Mousavi had also been picked up. Mousavi Tebrizi, a senior cleric from Qom, who is known to be close to Mr. Mousavi, has also reportedly been arrested.

Besides, two close associates of the former President, Mohammad Khatami, have been taken into custody by the authorities.

Meanwhile, the body of Seyed Ali Mousavi, Mr. Mousavi’s nephew, has not been handed over to his relatives.

Parlemannews quoted Seyed Reza Mousavi, brother of the victim, as saying, “Nobody accepts responsibility for taking away the body... We cannot have a funeral before we find the body.” Mr. Mousavi’s nephew was apparently shot in the back during Sunday’s demonstration.

Mehdi Karoubi, an opposition cleric who also lost the June 12 presidential elections, hit out at the Iranian leadership, an opposition website reported. Sunday’s protests were the biggest since June 20, when 10 people had died during demonstrations, opposing the results of the June 12 presidential elections, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had emerged winner. A day after the clashes, the government condemned the protests, which took place on the day when the Shia religious ceremony Ashura was held. Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, Deputy Commander of Iran’s armed forces, on Monday said the “actions of a group of hooligans on such days of mourning” was another “low act” incomparable to anything seen before, the state run Press TV reported.

He described the “small group of vandals” as marginal compared to “millions of real Ashura mourners”. General Jazayeri also called on the judiciary to effectively deal with what he called “the unbelievers and apostates” who had staged the riots in the capital. Press TV said at least eight people died during Sunday’s violence.

Confirming four of the deaths, Iran’s Deputy Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said one of the victims fell from a bridge, two others were hit by cars. He said an “unknown assailant” had shot dead Seyed Ali Mousavi.