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Iran warns reformists as hostage anniversary nears

Iranian students with a blindfolded hostage after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun on November 4, 1979.
Iranian students with a blindfolded hostage after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun on November 4, 1979.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wednesday marks 30th anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis
  • Iran is firmly warning against reformists taking to the streets to protest the government
  • Security forces chief says the "faithful" will be allowed to to celebrate the anniversary
  • Reformists have released names of 72 protesters they say were killed after June elections
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Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- As Tehran approaches the 30th anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis, in which dozens of Americans where held against their will for 444 days, the Islamic republic is firmly warning against reformists taking to the streets to protest the government.

Still reeling from the massive demonstration that followed the country's disputed presidential election, Iran on Wednesday will commemorate November 4, 1979, when a group of Islamist students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 53 hostages and effectively ending diplomatic relations with the United States.

While the government will allow the "faithful" to celebrate the anniversary of the embassy seizure, those who "intend to gather illegally and spread lies among people who gather to peacefully participate ... will be held responsible for their actions," said Ahmad Reza Radan, head of Iran's security forces, according to the semi-official Iran Student Correspondent Association.

The government of Iran arrested more than 1,000 people in a massive crackdown after the June 12 election, in which incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the overwhelming winner.

In the aftermath of the fallout, the government accused several reformists, including opposition candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi, of spreading anti-government propaganda and fueling the anger among the public.

Despite warnings from Iran's hardline leaders, the reformists have largely refused to back down. They released the names of 72 protesters they say were killed in the unrest that followed the election -- more than double the government's official number.

Karrubi, a former parliamentary speaker, has been especially vocal about the claims of detainee rape. He publishing a firsthand account of one alleged victim on his Web site last month. He has been scorned by government hard-liners, whose credibility and legitimacy have been publicly questioned since the elections.

On Wednesday, Islamic authorities tried to pre-emptively silence anti-government demonstrations and rhetoric.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, Hossein Sajedinia, deputy of operations for Iran's security forces, said, "The police will not allow a handful [of individuals] to disrupt the organization and safety of this day, by fooling people and the youth."