Militant women demonstrators attacked the director of Iran's national radio and fired a gun at him as he rode in his car, the radio reported tonight.
The radio said Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, a close associate of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, escape unhurt as the women escalated their week-long protests.
Ghotbzadeh has been a target of the women militants for allegedly censoring or misrepresenting their campaign against Khomeini's efforts to bring the role of women into conformity with Islamic religious codes.
No independent confirmation of the reported attack on Ghotbzadeh, who also heads Iran's state-controlled television, was immediately available.
A radio news broadcast, however, said a crowd of women stormed and smashed his car as he was returning to work tonight. It said one woman fired a gun and another tried to stab an Islamic militiaman with a knife.
Militiamen opened fire and the women fled, the broadcast said. It said no one was injured in the attack.
Militant women, who paraded earlier today among the hitherto sacrosanct Way of the Revolution, have made no secret of their opposition to Ghotbzadeh.
[Meanwhile, it was announced early Tuesday that revolutionary firing squads executed 12 men, including the former chief of Iran's national news agency and the former news editor for the state radio and television, on charges of political crimes, United Press International reported. This brought to 62 the number of death sentences carried out by Iran's revolutionary courts.]
Defying entreaties from both government officials and some of their own leaders, the women demonstrators maintained their protests against feared curtailment of their professional, educational and human rights by the Islamic fundamentalists under Khomemi. They feel this would consign them to the status of second-class citizens.
The limits of their success were obvious as they marched along what is still known as Shah Reza Avenue -- despite the revolution -- where millions of Iranians demonstrated repeatedly last year against the shah and for Khomeini.
Harassed by ever nastier, jeering and taunting Moslem men boasting allegiance to Khomeini, the women's numbers dwindled from 15,000 to perhaps no more than 3,000 along the line of march.
A minimal force of armed Islamic militiamen representing the government fired two or three times into the air to separate the hecklers from the women and their own male escorts.
Preceded and followed by heckling men -- and a few devout women in the full-length veil called the chador -- the bareheaded demonstrators were called "whores," "leftovers from the Pahlavi dynasty," "communists" and "agents of the Central Intelligence Agency and SAVAK," the once allpowerful secret police.
Their only apparent support came from school girls and nurses who waved and cheered from the balconies of their buildings.
The ugly mood was captured by the hecklong youths who charged that the women were "creating havoc and anarchy and trying to create divisions within the revolution."
Islamic susceptibilities about women have allowed the women's movement to surface the growing discontent among many Iranians ranging from middle-class professionals to liberals and Marxists delighted to use the protective coloration thus provided.
The march on a beautiful spring day took pace in defiance of the government and against the advice of various speakers at a rally at Tehran University earlier in the day.
But the militant women -- ranging from a large contingent of high school students to young middle-class and older women -- were not mollified by statements from officials that eased the effect of Khomeini's week-old demand that all women were "proper dress."
Like other dissenters in postrevolutionary Iran, the protesting women are suspicious of government intentions.
"Just because the government backed down on the chador last night they think we are going to be satisfied," one young marcher said. "We want the rights of all women respected -- down to the women in villages."
On a nearby construction site, a metal worker named Ali Akhbar Hadj Gholamali spoke disparagingly of the bareheaded women.
For Ali, a strict Moslem, proper dress for women was serious business. He explained that when his brother came visiting, his wife was not allowed to venture into the garden "unless she is wearing heavy socks" to hide even her ankles.
Reporters at Kayham Newspaper in Tehran said that Moslem men in a sit-in at the editorial of fices recently became so incensed by the sight of bare-headed women that the men exposed their sex organs and accused the women of really wanting sex, not freedom.
For the first time since Tehran women began demonstrating Thursday, reports filtered in of similar protests in the provinces.
In the Kurdish city of Sanandaj in western Iran hundreds of women were reported to have staged a two-hour demonstration in defense of their rights.
In Isfahan in central Iran professional women including two judges marched to local newspaper offices and declared their support for the detailed resolution adopted last week by the Tehran Committee on Women's Rights.
Several girls schools in Tabriz in northwestern Iran were deserted as students demonstrated amid newspaper reports that militiamen had to fire shots to separate militant male hecklers from demonstrating office and factory workers and high school and university students
Meanwhile, further dissatisfaction was reported from Baluchistan's increasingly vocal nationalists and from Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari, second only to Khomeini in nationwide Islamic prestige.
Shariatmadari once again spoke out to oppose the simple yes-or-no choice Iranians are to be faced with in the March 30 referendum asking whether they want an Islamic republic to replace the fallen monarchy.
"We must ask them what kind of government they want," Shariatmadari said, "instead of asking people to say yes or no to an Islamic republic."
A Baluchi nationalist spokesman telephoned to report that between 3,000 and 4,000 citizens of Zahedan in southeastern Iran met today to express their "anger and loss of respect for the revolution."
The anger was blamed on a Khomeini statement last week that the Baluchis interpreted as reestablishing the primacy of the majority Shiite sect of Islam despite the ayatollah's earlier promise to their leader that their minority sect of Sunni Islam would enjoy equality.
A meeting under the leadership of Maulavi Abdul Aziz, the Baluchi Sunni leader, sent off telegrams of protest to Khomeini, Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan and newspapers.
For the first time the Baluchis formally demanded local autonomy and a federal constitution, said they wanted the government's previous oral promises written down and asked for a full representation in the constituent assembly that is to approve a new constitution.
Similar meetings were held in other Baluchi centers, the spokesman said. He added that for the first time Baluchi leaders had been contacted by Kurdish nationalists who are the most experienced politically of Iran's minorities and now exercise de facto control over much of western Iran.