IRAN: Students stage rival rallies across nation

Iran on Tuesday witnessed duelling student protests at universities in the ongoing fallout over footage showing the burning of a picture of the Islamic republic's founder, reports Nasser Karimi for The Associated Press. State television has repeatedly shown images, ostensibly taken during opposition protests on 7 December, of unidentified hands burning the picture of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a shocking action for most Iranians.

Hundreds of students demonstrated at Tehran's Science and Technology University contending the images were fabricated by government agents to discredit the opposition, the reformist Web Site Mowjcamp reported. Students in the protest carried pictures of both Khomeini, who remains widely revered, and opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Similar protests also took place at Qom university, 105 kilometres south of Tehran.

The official Iranian news agency, meanwhile, reported some 700 pro-government students gathered at the Tehran branch of Azad University to protest the desecration of Khomeini's photo and were challenged by 100 pro-reform students.
Full report on The Associated Press site