Iranian forces, demonstrators clash

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian security forces beat protesters Saturday in central Tehran while hard- line activists disrupted a speech by the country’s moderate former presi- dent, reformist Web sites said, raising tensions ahead of opposition rallies expected during a key religious mourning rit- ual.

Several injuries were reported in Saturday’s unrest, which came a day before the Shiite Muslim mourning ceremony of Ashoura.

Opposition activists have held a series of anti-government protests since the death of a dissident cleric last week, and other rallies are expected during Sunday’s Ashoura rituals.

In other unrest, about 50 plainclothes hard-line activists interrupted a speech by the popular former President Mohammad Khatami and beat some of the audience, the pro-reform Salaam News Web site said.

It reported several injuries, though further details weren’t immediately available.