Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mobs attack home of Iranian opposition leader

Associated Press/Washington Times
September 3, 2010

Pro-government crowds swarmed outside the battered home of a key Iranian opposition leader Friday after militiamen attacked with firebombs and beat a bodyguard unconscious in a brazen message of intimidation and pinpoint pressure on dissent.

The assault on Mahdi Karroubi's five-story residence late Thursday — just hours before major state-backed rallies — displayed the growing tactics of trying to isolate and harass top opposition figures after relentless crackdowns appear to have driven protesters from the streets.

The 72-year-old Karroubi, a cleric and former parliament speaker, has been the most public protest leader in recent months — and has paid the price with repeated damage to his car and tense confrontations with backers of the Islamic state. But the latest backlash, described by a pro-reform website, was by far the most aggressive.