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Iran ethnic Azeris protest ethnic slur on state TV as authorities halt program


TEHRAN, Iran — Hundreds of Iranian ethnic Azeris have protested a children's program on state TV that contained what they consider an ethnic slur.

Iran's state TV broadcast pictures of what it called an "illegal gathering" as well as riot police deployed in Tabriz, a provincial capital in northeastern Iran. The broadcast said Monday's protest turned violent when some of the protesters broke windows of shops in the streets. It says two people suffered minor injuries, but no serious casualties.

A popular children's program on state TV contained a performance regarded as an ethnic slur toward the Azeri language. Mohammad Sarafraz, Iran's state TV chief, has apologized to Iranians for the insult and has dismissed an official in charge of the program. He also ordered the program be halted.

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