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IRAN: Hundreds march at funeral for slain student amid tension in Tehran

February 16, 2011 |  2:03 am

Under tight security, hundreds of Iranians marched through the streets Wednesday in a government-sanctioned funeral for Tehran Art University student Saane Zhaleh, who died in violent clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and the police Monday.

Described by the government as the "martyr Basij," Zhaleh is said by the authorities to have been killed by government opponents when he joined Basiji militiamen to help put down the protests, which were prohibited by the government.

The opposition says he was shot by police. State television showed marchers carrying Iranian flags and shouting slogans against opposition leaders, including "Death to Karroubi!" and "Death to Mosavi!" referring to Mehdi Karroubi and Hossein Mousavi, who were under house arrest during the demonstrations.

It said they were carrying pictures of President Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres. There were brief clashes with opposition activists, but no injuries, according to state TV.

Iran also officially confirmed the death of a second "passerby" at Monday's protests, 22-year-old Mohammad Mokhtari, who the Fars news agency said was "wounded by a number of rioters" who, it said, had opened fire on the public and police.

Opposition leaders have said that only the police were wielding guns during the protests. Fars also reported that thousands of people and members of Parliament have begun a sit-in at Tehran's central square,  "demanding the government to take strict action against seditionists and their masterminds."

-- Kim Murphy in Amman, Jordan

Photo: The funeral procession for Saane Zhaleh in Tehran sparked brief clashes between government supporters and anti-government demonstrators, according to state TV. Credit: Reuters