The bangs and whistles of fireworks blasted through Iran's capital Tuesday night in defiance of the religious establishment to abandon an ancient Persian ritual involving bonfires and amateur fireworks.
Reformist website Balatarin cited clashes in Tehran, with Basij firing tear gas at the crowds and reports that revelers burned portraits of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other witnesses told ABC News the streets were relatively calm.
"'It's like a big party, with lots of police," said Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist based in Tehran.
"Pretty much every major square had lots of riot police, but they were just standing and watching," Rezaian said.
Khamenei had denounced the yearly holiday, known as Chahar Shanbeh Suri or "Red Wednesday," saying it creates "harm and corruption." Other clerics also preached against the ritual during Friday prayers, calling it "impious.">>>
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