One man has died following clashes that broke out here yesterday during a leftist demonstration against the clergy-led Islamic government, an Iranian newspaper said today.
The death of the unidentified man was reported by the Islamic Republic, the official newspaper of the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Party. The paper said dozens of people were injured in the fighting as Revolutionary Guards forcibly dispersed the illegal demonstration by approximately 5,000 leftists.
Doctors at four hospitals told Reuter that they treated 39 persons for gunshot and stab wounds from the fighting.
Witnesses said the Revolutionary Guards fired assault rifles and threw tear-gas grenades to break up the rally, called to protest a lack of jobs and political repression in Iran.
Meanwhile, Islamic Republic also said today that 20 Kurdish rebels were killed yesterday in the Kurdish stronghold of Mahabad in clashes with government troops at the city's radio station.
The paper said "armed insurgents" used heavy and light arms in the battles, which lasted about five hours. It said a large number of the guerrillas were also wounded in the attack, but that government troops suffered no casualties.
The newspaper reported armed attacks on the Army and Revolutionary Guard headquarters in Mahabad but said the attacks had been repulsed.
There was no confirmation of the newspaper report by Kurdish sources. Communications with the city have been cut since a government offensive four months ago that drove the rebels out of Mahabad.
Mahabad, capital of a short-lived Kurdish Republic after World War II has changed hands between Kurdish guerrillas and government troops several times since the Iranian revolution two years ago.
In the war between Iran and Iraq, Iraqi officers said today, Iraqi forces are tightening their grip on desert positions around the besieged southwest Iranian city of Susangerd. The war appears, however, to have slackened in advance of next week's meeting of nonaligned states in New Delhi.
Iraqi armor and artillery reportedly pushed close to Susangerd after repulsing an Iranian counterattack in a major tank battle south of the town last month.
Iraqi officers told reporters that a decision on whether to storm the city, which fought back an Iraqi tank thrust last November, would be made by the political leadership in Baghdad.
Foreign journalists were shown the captured Iranian town of Howeiza, in the sandy wasteland south of Susangerd, during an escorted trip into territory captured by the Iraqis yesterday.
An Iraqi high command communique, issued in Baghdad tonight, said 251 Iranians were killed in fighting during the last 24 hours. Eight Iraqis died in the same period, it said.
The communique, released by the official Iraqi News Agency, said the Iraqis repulsed an Iranian attack in the Susangerd area, killing 183 of the enemy.
Other clashes occurred in Khuzestan Province with the Iranians suffering more casualties, the communique added.
It said an Iranian gunboat was sunk as it tried to approach the head of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, the border between the two warring countries.