Tehran Quiets

Tehran University's dormitories, hotbed of six days of pro-democracy protests, were almost deserted Thursday after security forces reasserted control and vowed to hunt down those behind the violence.

About 150 students, most from out of town, remained behind, amid the broken glass and charred rooms from last week's police riot that touched off the worst unrest since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Although the students have called off their protests, they say they are not backing down on their central demands, including the sacking of the hardline police chief, a public trial for two officers fired for ordering the attack, and the release of the bodies of dead classmates.

Students say scores were injured and at least five killed when police and hardline vigilantes attacked a peaceful rally. The authorities say one person died in the melee.

Â"Nothing is going to happen here at all, because we are still talking to the Interior Ministry about our demands,Â" said one student, who declined to be identified.

A Source in Tehran told CBS News that the students have given the government until Saturday to comply with their demands.

The source added that cellphone communication was still cut off in the capital Thursday, after being shut down in the wake of student demonstrations. Protest leaders were thought to have used cellphones to coordinate their activities.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari said the security forces had reined in the crisis, which culminated in running street battles between protesters and security forces, backed by hardline vigilantes armed with clubs.

He told state television the security forces were carrying out Â"widespread effortsÂ" to arrest those behind the trouble. A number of people had already been detained.

The security clampdown followed a big unity rally on Wednesday, called by the clerical establishment and backed by most moderate groups.

Â"Death to America,Â" roared the crowd at the rally, incited by official comments that the United States and other Â"hostileÂ" powers were behind the protests and the ensuing violence.

However, CBS News Senior European Correspondent Tom Fenton reports that the initial pro-reform protests were strikingly similar to those that broke out in Iran during the Islamic revolution, in which Iranian students took to the streets to topple the corrupt regime of the Shah.

CBS News Senior European Correspondent Tom Fenton covered the Islamic Revolution for CBS News in 1979.
But the revolution that made Iran the pariah of the Western world and a role model for millions of Muslims has finally run out of steam. In recent years, public resentment hs been rising against incompetent rule by mullahs who have grown corrupt in power.

For today's students, born after the heady days of 1979, the Islamic Revolution has meant only an endless list of restrictions and prohibitions. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll are banned, but so too is innocent fun. Young Iranians literally climb mountains to escape the authorities and hold hands with their sweethearts.

Adding fuel to the fire, prospects for jobs and a better life for university graduates are far worse than they were in the bad old days of the Shah.

The recent clashes were not the first between hardliners and pro-democracy reformers. There have been dozens in the past few years. But this time, there is the likelihood that things could spin out of control. Students' complaints - which began with calls for greater freedom - now include demands that heads roll at the top. Clerical heads.

Even moderate-leaning Khatami is under fire. One student leader has said, "We are not going to be satisfied until people at the top resign. Khatami has to do something or resign." In the present mood of the county, even a moderate mullah has to watch his back.

What happens next depends on how the hardliners react to this challenge. Once they begin to back down, history suggests that the floodgates of protest will open wide. After a 20-year hiatus, an unmistakable sense of revolution has returned to Tehran.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Reuters contributed to this report