Iran Police Clash with Opposition Demonstrators

Iranian police have clashed with opposition demonstrators who renewed protests against the government on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Witnesses say police fired tear gas at hundreds of people who came out to the streets of Tehran Wednesday for protests supported by defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Demonstrators shouted "death to the dictator" as they rekindled protests that began in June against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Voice of America reports.

According to AFP, US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, in a statement marking the anniversary of the event that sparked decades of hostility between America and Iran urged Tehran to make choices that would end its international isolation.

Witnesses said the violent clashes occurred at Haft-e-Tir square in the heart of the capital when riot police armed with batons and firing teargas moved in on a crowd of several hundred opposition supporters staging a protest.

The protesters, who were chanting "Death to the dictator," refused to disperse and dozens were beaten or arrested. Groups of pro-government hardliners also gathered at the square chanting "Death to America."

The Iranian government backed events Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the takeover, including an annual anti-American rally outside the brick walls of the former embassy compound. Thousands of people gathered outside the former embassy, waving anti-American banners and signs praising the Islamic Revolution.

Simultaneous anti-government marches were stormed by Iranian security forces using batons and tear gas, witnesses and state media reported, The Associated Press reports.

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