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IRAN CRACKS DOWN ON TORTURE, ABUSE INQUIRY

Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian security forces Tuesday cracked down on the opposition's campaign to highlight torture and abuse of prisoners in the country's postelection crisis, shutting down offices of pro-reform leaders and arresting five of their aides in a series of raids.

The raids raised the pressure against the top opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, who hard-line clerics and commanders of the Revolutionary Guard have said should also be arrested.

The arrests suggested that authorities aim to crush the campaign led by Mousavi and Karroubi to bring to light alleged torture and rapes of protesters who were detained in the heavy crackdown against the opposition that followed the disputed June presidential election.

The abuse allegations have been deeply embarrassing for the Iranian government and the clerical leadership, amid reports that several detainees were tortured to death. Karroubi in particular has been vocal in demanding an official investigation into the allegations.

On Tuesday, security forces descended on Karroubi's personal office and the office of his National Confidence Party, said party spokesman Esmaeil Gerami Moghaddam. The security forces sealed both offices and confiscated documents and CDs connected to the party's investigation into abuse allegations, he said.

Nuclear warning: Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Tuesday that the growing relationship between Venezuela and Iran is stoking the nuclear ambitions of both countries and needs to be more carefully tracked by U.S. authorities. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, he said his investigations show Iran is using Venezuela's established banking network to skirt international sanctions and acquire the materials needed for its nuclear program.

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