Report by Radio Zamaneh
Prominent Iranian reformist cleric, Ayatollah Hoseinali Montazeri criticized the role of Basij militia in the violent suppression of the post-election protesters and maintained the Basij was not established to serve "in the path of the Satan."
Gathering of supporters with Ayatollah Montazeri on the occasion of Eid-e Gorban
In the post election events, Basij militia played
an instrumental role in confronting protesters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's alleged
fraudulent victory. Some reports tell of Basij forces firing into crowds and
causing the death of several peaceful demonstrators.
The authorities have denied Basij role in shootings. They claim infiltrators in Basij uniforms had carried out the attacks.
Ayatollah Montazeri commented on harsh beatings carried out by Basij forces saying: "Some have engaged in beating people just to secure praises from their superiors."
Basij forces attacking protesters in Tehran (June 2009)
The role of the volunteer force, Basij in the
post-election crackdown of protesters has been criticized by numerous political
figures and organizations.
Basij militia was established in 1979 by the order of Ayatollah Khomeini as a volunteer paramilitary force to protect the country. In the Iran-Iraq war thousands of Basij members died in the battlefield.
Today Revolutionary Guard Commander, Hosein
Hamadani announced that Basij functions have been modified and instead of a
"military and defense" function from now on they will engage in "security and
cultural" activities. He told Mehr news agency that "by security activities we
mean confrontation of soft threats."
Iranian authorities claim the post election protesters are engaged in a "soft war" against the Islamic Republic by creating adverse propaganda against the Islamic Republic in the media and trying to topple the government through non-violent means.
To confront the so-called "soft war," Basij forces have been assimilated into the Revolutionary Guards and a section under the title of Basij-e Mostazafin has been established under the supervision of Brigadier-General Naghdi.
Commander Naghdi is a former Security and Intelligence Commander who was reportedly involved in the attack on university students in their dorm ten years ago and also in the arrests and torture of a number of the capital's city officials.
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