Iran funeral turns into political protest

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Video clips from Iran show mourners chanting opposition slogans at the funeral of a dissident cleric in the largest political protest in years.

The cries of “death to the dictator” do not appear directly related to next week’s presidential election. But they echo protest chants after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 and are likely to alarm security officials on full alert before the June 14 vote.

The videos, which first appeared on an Iranian website, appear authentic, according to interviews and analysis by The Associated Press.

They show thousands of mourners in the central city of Isfahan for the funeral of Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri, who died Sunday. The mourners also called for the release of prisoners, including opposition leaders under house arrest.

Taheri had criticized Iranian hard-liners.

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