Iran's Crackdown on Demonstrators Continues

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Violence continued in Iran Thursday as the Islamic Republic clamped down even harder on protesters taking to the streets to protest the nation's recent election.

The hard-line government appeared to be wearing down Iranians hungry for change.

Anxious to see the Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossain Mousavi, protesters gathered outside parliament in Tehran on Wednesday.

But instead, they were met with cables and wooden clubs.

One eyewitness said the wounded were taken away in police vans.

The Wall Street Journal reported the family of one young man, who was shot in the head as he stood at an intersection, was told they would have to pay a $3,000 bullet fee. The man's father told government officials that was more than all of his possessions were worth.

The fee was eventually waived, but the young man's body had to be buried in another city. The 19-year-old was to be married in one week.

"I think that the fact that the regime is clamping down the way it is reflects how shaken they feel," said Azadeh Moaveni, an Iranian-American author.

On his official website, Mousavi wrote his "access to people is completely restricted" and that he's being pressured to withdraw his challenge to the June 12th election results that show hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning by a landslide.

The Iranian government's brutality appeared to be working. Protests in Tehran are becoming more sparse.

"God is great" and "Death to the dictator" are now chanted under the cover of night to avoid police beatings.

"I am very saddened when I see the scenes and also hear from my friends about the violence that is shown towards peaceful protesters," said Roxana Saberi, an Iranian- American journalist.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad singled out President Obama this week for criticizing the clamp down and compared him to President George W. Bush.

"Mr. Obama made a mistake to say those things," Ahmadinejad said. "Our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously Bush used to say."

In the wake of the bloody crackdown, the Obama administration's first efforts at a diplomatic relationship with Iran are being scaled back. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend Fourth of July celebrations at U.S. embassies abroad. None of the invited Iranians had accepted the invitations.

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