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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Three thousand students demonstrated for a second straight day Tuesday against the death sentence handed down to a prominent professor convicted of insulting Islam.

The demonstration was called to protest the case of Hashem Aghajari, a popular teacher of history at the university.

Aghajari has been convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and questioning the hard-line clergy's interpretation of Islam. Last week, he was told he had been sentenced to death.

``All Iranians brought the 1979 revolution to victory. Now, clerics hold the pillars of power. Prisons host distinguished scholars, respected teachers and popular students. What are you doing to this country?'' student leader Meisam Yousefzadeh said to applause at Tehran's Tarbiat-e-Modarres University.

Nearly two-thirds of the reformist-dominated parliament called Sunday for the sentence to be overturned. But the head of the conservative judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, has dismissed criticism of the verdict as ``ignorant.''

The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, said Tuesday that Iran broke international judicial standards by sentencing Aghajari to death.

The trial and the harsh sentence ``represent a breach of accepted international standards of due process,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

He said the case shows the human rights situation in Iran is deteriorating.

On Monday, about three thousand students protested the sentence in Tehran. Yousefzadeh said police detained six protesters, but this could not be confirmed with the authorities Tuesday.

Aghajari was prosecuted because in June he gave a speech in the western city of Hamedan saying that each new generation should be able to interpret the Islamic faith on its own. He criticized the clerical establishment for considering previous cleric's interpretations as sacred.

His comments enraged hard-liners, who organized street demonstrations in several Iranian cities and urged the courts to prosecute Aghajari.