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Amid student protests, Iran widens net against opposition

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Each anniversary has prompted a stand-off outside the family home between security forces or hard-line vigilantes against hundreds who commemorate one of the most gruesome episodes of the era of former President Mohammad Khatami. But never before has Forouhar, an artist who has focused on human rights issues and torture, been prevented from leaving the country.

Forouhar's passport confiscated

This time, however, Iranian sources close to her say her passport was taken at the airport as she was departing this past Saturday. She was told that there was an outstanding Revolutionary Court case against her.

Iran's Revolutionary Courts often try cases of alleged treason, threats to national security, and insults to Islam or other "sanctities," such as Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Invariably hard-line, the courts have frequently been used in political cases to imprison reformists since the late 1990s.

Forouhar's case emerges as Iranians weigh the aftermath of protests across the country on Monday, and the arrests for "violating public order." Chanting "Death to the dictator" and burning pictures of Ayatollah Khamenei as they clashed with riot police and pro-regime vigilantes, the student-led demonstrations were the latest round of street protests since the disputed elections last June.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, the presidential candidate who says that widespread fraud deprived him of victory over archconservative rival Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was reportedly prevented on Tuesday from leaving his office by 30 plainclothes men on motorcycles – some of them wearing masks.

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