EU urges Iran against using force (Second Lead)

February 15th, 2011 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Feb 15 (IANS) The European Union (EU) Tuesday urged the Iranian authorities to refrain from using force against peaceful demonstrators after Iranian security forces fired teargas shells to disperse protesters who gathered at a Tehran square in support of demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia. The Iranian authorities have also put opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest.

The EU is “closely following the events taking place in Iran”, Xinhua quoted a spokesperson of the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as saying in a statement.

The EU has noticed “the apparent restrictions placed on the freedom of movement of certain members of the opposition and the protests taking place on the streets today,” said the statement.

Ashton has called on the Iranian authorities to “fully respect and protect the rights of their citizens, including freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully,” it said.

Clashes were reported to have taken place at the Enghelab Square in Tehran between security forces and protesters.

The demonstration was called Monday by opposition leaders Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi in support of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings.

People in separate groups, silently and without chanting slogans, moved towards the Azadi Square, but security forces chased them away, Xinhua reported.

Gatherings were also reported from Imam Khomeini Square, Haft-e-Tir Square and on Karim Khan and Vali-e-Asr streets.

According to AKI news agency, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was placed under house arrest.

His official website said the move was made to keep him from taking part in a demonstration in solidarity with the pro-democracy protests that toppled Eyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Police have taken similar precaution against fellow leader Mehdi Karroubi.

Authorities have also blocked websites and satellite news channels in an effort to disrupt communications that could help organise protests.

–Indo-Asian News Agency
sd/vt

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