The move signals that the regime is widening its crackdown from street protesters to the political and intellectual elite.
Iran arrested 70 university professors who favor a reform of the country's political system overnight, spreading its crackdown beyond protesters on the streets to members of the country's political and intellectual elite.
The Associated Press – citing a web site close to Mir Hussein Mousavi, the centrist presidential candidate who observers both inside and outside Iran say had the country's June 12 election stolen from him – reported that the professors were arrested shortly after attending a meeting with Mr. Mousavi.
Even as the regime did so, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, once the hand-picked successor of the father of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, condemned his government's behavior. This came amid signs that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the populist and anti-Western president who claimed victory in the election, was losing some of his old supporters.
There [were] also indications that the disputed election has caused a rift among former Ahmadinejad supporters. Several Tehran newspapers reported Thursday that only 105 out of 290 members of parliament attended a victory celebration held by Ahmadinejad on Tuesday. Among the no-shows was Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.