Mobs attack home of Iranian opposition leader

By Brian Murphy and Nasser Karimi-Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — 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.

Mobs of hard-line militiamen — known as Basij — began breaking down the front door of Karroubi‘s residence before being driven back by warning shots from guards, according to the Sahamnews website, which supports Iran‘s pro-reform movement.

Karroubi was at home at the time, but was not injured, his son Hossein told The Associated Press.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/sep/3/mobs-attack-home-iranian-opposition-leader/

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