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Iranian security forces raid opposition offices, arrest key dissidents

In Iran on Sunday, anti-government protests, held to coincide with the Shiite Muslim holiday of Ashura, became violent between demonstrators and police under the command of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. At least five demonstrators have been killed, including Ali Mousavi, 32, the nephew of opposition political leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

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According to the pro-government Fars News Agency, demonstrators in the Shiite holy city of Qom called for the punishment of opposition leaders, shouting slogans such as "the rioter hypocrites should be hanged" and demanding action by the Iranian judiciary. The news agency did not elaborate on the number or affiliation of the demonstrators.

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In Tehran, relatives and opposition Web sites charged that the body of an opposition figure had disappeared from a local hospital, forcing the cancellation of a memorial service at which protesters had planned to gather. Ali Mousavi, a nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, was apparently gunned down in a Tehran street during Sunday's clashes.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency denied that the body was missing and said it was being held for "further investigation."

State television said unknown assailants killed Ali Mousavi, but opposition activists blamed security forces and described him as a martyr. Mourners gathered to offer condolences in front of the hospital where his body was initially taken, but they were met by police who fired tear gas to disperse them, the opposition Norooznews Web site reported.

"Whenever the body of my brother is found, we will inform the public about the mourning ceremony through the media," Reza Mousavi told the Parlemannews Web site.

Branigin reported from Washington.


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