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    Iranians rally to mark Islamic Revolution

    Iranians rally to mark Islamic Revolution

    People gather at Tehran's Azadi square

    Thousands of pro-government Iranians are rallying to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the rally Iran's enemies were using the nuclear issue and that of human rights to dominate the region.

    He also said Iran had produced its first stock of 20% enriched uranium and could enrich up to 80%.

    Meanwhile there are unconfirmed reports of opposition demonstrations in Tehran and Tabriz, and of clashes with police.

    It is the most important day in Iran's political calendar. The government has warned protests will be dealt with.
    BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says it could be the largest confrontation since the disputed election last June, and the government and opposition have chosen to make the day a huge trial of strength.

    'Nuclear state'

    Official events are being held across Iran, but the main gathering is at Tehran's Azadi square. State TV showed tens of thousands of people filling the streets.

    Mr Ahmadinejad told the crowds Iran was now a "nuclear state".
    "The first package of 20% [enriched uranium] fuel was produced and provided to the scientists," he said.
    He added Iran would soon treble output of the fuel.

    Earlier this week Iran announced its decision to further enrich uranium for its nuclear programme. It prompted the US to extend sanctions, targeting members of the elite Revolutionary Guard.
    Tehran says its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes, but the West suspects it of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
    Mr Ahmadinejad also said Western countries were hampering genuine reform in Iran.
    "It's been 41 years that they have been opposing the Islamic revolution, and also they have been hampering the progress of this great nation," he said.

    'Teargas and shots'

    Meanwhile, reports from the micro-blogging site Twitter and the pro-opposition Jaras website said opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's supporters were gathering in the city's Saddeqiya street.
    But Mr Karroubi's son was quoted as saying his bodyguards had been attacked by members of the government's basij militia and he had decided to return home.
    The reformist former President Mohammad Khatami was also reportedly attacked.
    Other opposition sources said security forces had fired shots and teargas at supporters of Mir-Hossein Moussavi, Mr Ahmadinejad's main rival in last June's elections.

    Twitter user Shhh527 said in the north-western city of Tabriz "people are chanting".
    Anti-government websites have urged marchers to display green emblems or clothes - the colour adopted by the opposition movement after the disputed election on 12 June last year.
    There are reports that internet access has been restricted.
    Deadly clashes erupted after the poll, and have taken place sporadically since then.

    Ahead of the commemorations, police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said the Revolutionary Guards and Basij Islamic militia were ready for any trouble.
    "We are fully prepared for holding a safe and glorious rally," he told semi-official Fars news agency, according to Reuters news agency.
    "We are closely watching the activities of the sedition movement, and several people who were preparing to disrupt the 11 February rallies were arrested," he said.

    'Permanent suspension'

    Web giant Google says its e-mail traffic in Iran has dropped sharply, even though its networks were working properly.
    Google said users of its Gmail service had experienced difficulties following a newspaper report about official restrictions.
    "Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possible," the California-based company said in a statement.
    "Sadly, sometimes it is not within our control."
    The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran's telecommunications agency had announced "a permanent suspension of Google Inc's e-mail services".

    Washington - which on Wednesday extended sanctions against Tehran - said any efforts to keep information from Iranians would fail.
    US state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: "Virtual walls won't work in the 21st century any better than physical walls worked in the 20th century."
    Twitter and other social networking sites were used extensively during the post-election protests.
    Last edited by ItsRobsLife; 11-02-2010 at 05:13 PM.

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