An ordinarily staid annual media expo in Tehran erupted into chaos this week as opposition supporters and pro-government militiamen squared off.
Normally, the 16-year-old exhibition is meant to showcase Iranian press as well as international news outlets with a presence in the Islamic Republic. Last year, even the Los Angeles Times was invited to set up a booth.
Alas, no invite for us this year following the political and social tension unleashed by Iran’s disputed June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.The amateur videotape footage posted above shows the drama that unfolded at the expo Friday following the arrival of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, who was pummeled by government supporters.
One witness said women chanting in support of the opposition managed to drown out Ahmadinejad supporters deriding Karroubi as a “hypocrite,” code word for a despised exile group.
“He was beaten on the head with a green balloon,” the witness said. “It was a farcical scene.”
Afterward, enraged Karroubi supporters trashed pro-Ahmadinejad news agencies’ exhibition stands, the witness said.
On Sunday, the arrival of Ali Reza Beheshti, a top aide to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, at the exhibition hall sparked a fresh confrontation, Iranian news websites reported.
According to the website Tabnak, &… >>>