TEHRAN — Iran intensified its crackdown on demonstrators Tuesday as thousands of pro-government militiamen stormed the grounds of the country’s most prominent university and assaulted students who had gathered in protest.
Armed with steel clubs, electric batons, pepper spray and tear gas, members of the Basij paramilitary organization attacked several hundred students on the campus of the University of Tehran. Witnesses said the student protesters fought back, in some cases injuring members of the Basij, who fall under the command of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.
It was the of clashes between security forces and the opposition. But the show of force on Tuesday was particularly dramatic, and it appeared to signal that the government is determined to neutralize Iran’s restive student community.
A relatively small but active group of students nationwide has challenged the government for many years, and it now forms the backbone of a grass-roots opposition movement. Nearly six months after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , triggering the most intense demonstrations Iran had seen in decades, the protesters are again showing signs of gaining str…