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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 05:06 GMT 06:06 UK
Iran football fans clash with police
Iran lost 3-1 to Bahrain
Iran fans claimed the match against Bahrain was fixed
Hundreds of Iranian football fans have clashed with police in Tehran after the national team lost a World Cup qualifying match.

Witnesses said crowds of supporters attacked banks and government buildings after rumours spread that the 3-1 defeat at home to Bahrain was politically fixed.

Death to the mullahs

Rioting fans
About 1,000 police, aided by Basiji militia men wielding sticks, fought running battles with youths in the streets of the capital.

Scores of protesters were arrested and several police were hurt after being pelted with rocks and fireworks.

The fans' anger was apparently triggered by claims that the Iranian side was instructed to lose the game, in order to avoid repeat scenes of clashes 10 days ago after Iran beat Iraq.

Witnesses said youths began protesting against the Iranian leadership, chanting "death to the mullahs", and "Iran has turned into Palestine", the French news agency AFP reported.

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami
The Iranian president appealed to fans not to cause trouble
Leaflets criticising the government were also said to have been distributed.

Police had anticipated trouble and deployed in several potential flashpoints in the city immediately after the match, according to Reuters news agency.

The Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, had earlier urged fans to avoid any wild celebrations if Iran beat Bahrain and police warned supporters against "threatening public order".

The security forces were on alert after the violent scenes that followed Iran's 2-1 victory over Iraq on 12 October.

Then police used tear gas to break up a crowd of 20,000 fans who had gathered in western Tehran, and arrested more than 400 people.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran
"In some areas shots were heard"
See also:

31 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iran riot prompts 150 arrests
22 Apr 01 | Middle East
Iran court sentences 100 rioters
13 Nov 00 | Middle East
Iran riots blamed on hardliners
28 Aug 00 | Middle East
Policeman dead in Iran unrest
11 Jul 00 | Middle East
Six days that shook Iran
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