Iranian police were out in force
during the protests

About 30 student leaders, who went to parliament to protest the arrests, said that since last Thursday 87 students had been arrested in Tehran and 250 in the northwestern city of Urumiyeh.

Another 105 students in the northeastern city of Sabzevar had been detained along with 30 others in Hamadan in western Iran.

“We will not accept despotism at all. Even if they send us to prison and take us to solitary confinement there are others who have more daring slogans than us and they will confront the system with more violent methods,” said student leader Said Razavi Faqih.

Parliament speaker Mehdi Karubi met the student delegation. He told reporters after the meeting that he had promised to follow up on the matter.

The students were also joined by member of parliament Ahmad Shirzad, whose son had been detained, from the central city of Isfahan and six other lawmakers.

Whereabouts unclear

Plain clothes security officials, carrying arrest warrants authorizing them to detain anyone suspect had arrested the students, according to students and some opposition lawmakers.

The whereabouts of many detainees was unknown.

“There has been a mass arrest order. They can arrest whoever they want,” said one member of parliament, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Diplomats said the arrests appeared to be aimed at wiping out a recent spate of demonstrations against ruling clerics, which began in Tehran two weeks ago and spread to other cities.

The demonstrations gathered momentum after a US-based Iranian opposition television station urged Iranians to take to the streets along with students and protest against the government.