As hundreds of thousands of government supporters rallied Thursday in Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the occasion to declare that Iran had produced its first stock of 20 percent enriched uranium.
In a nationally televised address in Azadi Square, Ahmadinejad said Iran would not be bullied by the West into halting its nuclear program.
“When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” Ahmadinejad told the crowd, reports the Associated Press. “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.”
AP reporter Nasser Kaimi, who is in Tehran, also reports, “Heavy numbers of riot police, members of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militiamen deployed at key squares and major avenues in the capital to prevent the opposition protests from marring the annual mass rallies for the revolution’s anniversary.”
Security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were trying to march toward the square, and police fired paint-filled balls at protesters who were gathering in a square about a half-mile away.
Dozens of hard-liners, believed to be members of the Basij civilian militia, attacked the convoy of a senior opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi, as he tried to join the protests, his son Hossein Karroubi told the AP.
The AP also reports that security forces briefly detained the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and her husband, who are both senior pro-reform politicians.
An opposition Web site said security forces fired shots and teargas at supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi staging a rally in central Tehran, reports Reuters. Mousavi and his wife attended one of the rallies, the Web site said.
We’ll have more about the events in Iran on tonight’s NewsHour.
On the morning after the second major snowstorm to hit the East in less than a week, the federal government and most schools, except for those in New York City, remain closed for the fourth straight day as the dig out begins.
Several states have been working to reopen interstates, including I-76 and I-676 in Philadelphia and I-78 in eastern Pennsylvania. And airports from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., were all struggling to clear their runways and get airplanes back to pick up stranded passengers.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses along the east coast were left without power late Wednesday through early Thursday as utility crews went back out to work.
The latest storm produced nearly 16 inches of snow in Philadelphia, about 20 inches in central New Jersey, and from 10 to 16 inches in and around New York City.
Already, Baltimore (72.3 inches), Philadelphia (70.3 inches) and Washington, D.C., (54.9 inches) have had their snowiest winters in history. The previous records for snowiest winters were: Baltimore, 62.5 inches in 1995-96; Philadelphia, 65.5 inches in 1995-96; and Washington, 54.4 in 1898-99.
We’ll have more about the snowstorm on tonight’s NewsHour.
European leaders agreed Thursday to come to the aid of financially troubled Greece, with Germany and France in particular taking the lead.
The leaders of Germany and France were expected to offer an outline of the agreement later Thursday from Brussels, at the close of a European Union economic summit.
The European Parliament, meantime, voted against a deal that would have allowed U.S. authorities access to European bank transfers, a tool the United States said was an important source of information for anti-terror investigators.
The 378-196 vote came after parliament members were lobbied in recent days by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the importance of an agreement.