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Foreign tourists harassed in Iran -newspaper

TEHRAN, Aug 12 (Reuters) - A group of Islamic vigilantes harassed foreign tourists who were in the central city of Isfahan to view the last total solar eclipse of the 20th century, the official newspaper Iran reported on Thursday.

The paper, published by the state news agency IRNA, described the vigilantes as ``thugs.''

It said tourists were harassed by hardline ``hezbollah'' vigilantes while visiting historic sites on Wednesday.

``A group of about 30 hezbollahis gathered and chanted 'Death to America' and other slogans against the style of dress of the female tourists,'' it said.

Under Iran's interpretation of Islamic dress codes, women must cover the hair and disguise the shape of their bodies when in public.

Thousands of foreign tourists descended on Isfahan, which was said by experts from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to offer the best view of the eclipse on Wednesday.

The attack took place amid the efforts by Iran's reformist government to attract foreign tourists to the country's numerous historic sites and ancient cities.


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