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Iranian fire protests in Paris, London

An Iranian protester sits on a Paris street after setting himself ablaze Wednesday.
An Iranian protester sits on a Paris street after setting himself ablaze Wednesday.

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CNN's Jim Bittermann says three members of the Iranian People's Mujahedeen set themselves afire outside the Iran Embassy in Paris (June 18)
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PARIS, France (CNN) -- Iranians in Paris and London set themselves on fire Wednesday to protest a French government crackdown on Iranian dissidents opposed to religious rule in Tehran, police in both cities said.

Two Iranian women and a man set themselves on fire in Paris. Police initially said the women died, but hospital sources later said all three were alive, with one person in critical condition.

Marzieh Babakhani, who police said was about 40, set fire to her clothes at a protest at an Interior Ministry office near the Eiffel Tower early in the day, police sources said.

The other woman, Segigheh Mojaveri, 38, set herself ablaze later at the same protest. Hospital officials had said she was put on a respirator while being treated for severe burns.

The man, whose name was not known, set himself alight later in the day.

In London, Neda Huseini, 25, set herself on fire outside the French Embassy in London, said Ali Safavi, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a Paris-based group that opposes Iran's fundamentalist regime. Police said Huseini was taken to a hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries.

On Tuesday, police carried out raids in the French capital targeting the People's Mujahedeen, the military arm of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) which opposes the Islamic government in Tehran.

Police said they arrested more than 150 people on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks and seized $1.3 million in $100 bills.

A riot police officer escorts handcuffed women Tuesday after a raid northwest of Paris.
A riot police officer escorts handcuffed women Tuesday after a raid northwest of Paris.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has accused the group of trying to set up a "rear base" in the country after U.S. troops took over its main operations base in Iraq.

Protesters also accused France of launching the raid as a favor to the Islamic republic. Tehran has long called for a crackdown on the NCRI.

The Paris demonstration was the third dramatic protest in Europe against Tuesday's sudden sweep.

On Tuesday, a man set himself on fire outside the French Embassy in London. Exiles also threw stones and fruit at the Iranian consulate in Hamburg while four of them forced their way into the building, wrecking furniture and spray painting slogans on walls.

The People's Mujahedeen, which has groups around the world, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

The operation against the group came as protests continued in the Iranian capital against the country's hardline clerical leadership.


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