70 Iranian Professors Reportedly Detained

Iran flag protest election generic Hossein Mousavi AP

Last Updated 3:05 a.m. Eastern.

Seventy university professors were detained in Iran in a widening government crackdown on protesters, according to a Web site affiliated with Iran's key opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he was robbed of victory in a rigged presidential election.

The professors were detained on Wednesday, immediately after meeting with Mousavi, said the Kalemeh site, which is affiliated with the opposition leader. The report said it is not clear where the detainees were taken.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.

Hundreds protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the June 12 vote, in which Iran's ruling clerics declared hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide. The government has also set up a special court to deal with the cases of people arrested in more than a week of unrest and threatened harsh sentences.

IranWatch: Track the latest on the Iran election upheaval.

Widespread protests erupted after the election, amid allegations of massive fraud. Since then, at least 17 people have been killed as authorities gradually intensified their crackdown.

The state-owned newspaper, Iran, reported Thursday that in addition to the 17, seven members of the pro-government Basij militia were killed in post-election clashes, and dozens more injured by weapons and knives. The report could not be independently verified.

The professors detained Wednesday were believed to be among a group that has been pushing for a more liberal form of government. The detentions signal that the authorities are increasingly targeting members of Iran's elite.

A flood of security forces using tear gas and clubs quickly overwhelmed a small group of rock-throwing protesters near Iran's parliament Wednesday, and the country's supreme leader said the outcome of the disputed presidential election would stand - signs of the government's growing confidence in quelling unrest on the streets.

As the election showdown has shifted, demonstrators are finding themselves increasingly scattered and struggling under a blanket crackdown. In Wednesday's clashes, thousands of police crushed hundreds of Mousavi's supporters.

With no western television cameras left in Iran, shaky cell phone video provides the only images of the protest. And although the pictures show confrontations and casualties, it's impossible to verify when and where they were filmed, reported CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

The regime seems determined to head off further violence before it starts by flooding areas favored by the protestors with riot police and paramilitaries.

Mousavi hasn't been heard from in almost a week, Palmer reported. But Wednesday, his wife - who rocketed to stardom during the election campaign - posted a message online reminding protestors they have a legal right to demonstrate and blasting the government for acting as if it had imposed martial law, reports Palmer.
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