In an unusually open report on unrest in Iran, Tehran radio said shantytown residents in a northeastern city beat up government workers trying destroy their shacks.

The residents in the city of Mashhad then went on a rampage of looting and arson, the radio reported Sunday. It said tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday to protest these "counterrevolutionary actions by hooligans."

The tone of the broadcast indicated the government blamed Saturday's rampage on the Mujahedeen Khalq, the largest exiled Iranian opposition movement. It was the most open reference yet in Iran's official media to such clashes.

Mujahedeen Khalq spokesman Ali Safavi, in a telephone call from Baghdad, Iraq, said the movement organized the violence, which he called the largest antigovernment demonstration since the 1979 revolution.

The government has been sending in bulldozers to raze squatter dwellings that house tens of thousands of workers who labor in nearby factories.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.