The Iranian opposition National Front Party, claiming backing from religious leaders, today called a one-day general strike to protest the killing of three people by troops at a shrine earlier this week.
The strike is likely to be the first direct confrontation between the opposition and the military government appointed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi nearly three weeks ago to quell violence and restore life to normal after months of sporadic unrest.
The National Front Party said it has received the backing of the shah's chief religious opponent, the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah KHomeini, and religious leaders in Tehran and the body cities of Mashad and Qom.
In a joint statement, three leading Shiite Moslem leaders called for a day of national mourning to protest what they called "sacrilege" during the clashes between troops and demonstrators at the shrine of Shiite saint Imam Reza in Mashad.
"The holy shrine has been damaged and subjected to sacrilege and its holy courtyard made the scene of shooting," the statement said.
Meanwhile in what appeared to be the start of the general strike, white-collar workers at Iran's central bank nerve center of this strife-torn country's monetary system, walked out demanding that the military government be removed within a week. New anti-shah violence was reported in Tehran and the provinces.
The official Pars news agency, meanwhile, said rioters bombed the government arts and culture center in the Persian Gulf town of Bushehr and set fire to other buildings.
In central Tehran, 200 refinery workers stormed the headquarters of the state-run National Iranian Oil Co., protesting the arrest of leaders of a 15-day strike that crippled Iran's vital oil industry earlier this month. Troops fired shots to disperse the protestors but no casualties were reported. Across town, agents of SAVAK, the shah's secret police, stormed the offices of the National Association of Lawyers to rip down antigovernment posters.
No casualties were reported in these incidents. But in Frankfurt, West Germany, authorities reported that at least 200 policemen and protesters were injured when anti-shah demonstrators tried to storm the U.S. Consulate there and driven back by police firing water connons.
The clash occurred after an estimated 7,000 Iranian, Turkish and West German demonstrators marched through the city. The United States has steadfastly supported the shah during the current political crisis in Iran.