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Basij Role In Facing Iranian Protesters Lauded

Source: Radio Zamaneh

In what seems like an extensive effort to justify security measures of the past eight months, Esmail Ahamdi Moghaddam, chief of Iran's national police, announced that Basij forces extended their services in the post-election events without "any financial gain."

Speaking in the introduction ceremony of Tehran's new police chief, Ahamdi Moghaddam lauded the Basij militia as a "popular force that operates in complicated situations without any financial compensation, only to serve God." He added that Basij forces have demanded no compensation for all the "damages" they have suffered in the post-election events.

Armed Basij members confronting protesters in Tehran, June 2009

Basij militia is a voluntary force that is supervised by the Revolutionary Guards. Although as a voluntary force they receive no regular wages, their members enjoy unlimited benefits in every walk of life in Iran from education to employment, health and travel.

Basij forces have been instrumental in the crackdown on post-election protesters and the suppression of the student movement in the universities in the past eight months.

Basij militia attacking University of Tehran - June 2009

Commander Ahmadi Moghaddam maintained that the police force faced the toughest challenges of all its history during the post-election events. He claimed: "During velvet revolution the police bear the highest level of pressure, and if the police force collapses, anarchy will break loose in the country."

Iranian authorities claim that the protests against the outcome of the June presidential election is a "velvet revolution" trying to gradually supplant the regime. Opposition leaders deny this charge and claim the people are simply asking for their constitutional rights.

Iran police chief went on to say that on Ashura Day the country suffered a "lapse in security" which must never be repeated.

On Ashura Day, December 27, Iran's election protesters staged one of their many protests which have been going on in the past eight months against the alleged fraud in the presidential election. Police confrontations with protesters on this day were especially violent with police vehicles running protesters over or off a bridge. At least eight people died in the Ashura Day clashes.

Basij attacking protesters in Tehran on December 27, 2009

While the police deny any wrongdoing in these events, reformist media have suggested that the retirement of Tehran police chief, Brigadier-General Rajabzadeh is connected with his security measures for Ashura Day. Reportedly Rajabzadeh was extensively interrogated by the judiciary following the events of that day.

Rajabzadeh who was Tehran's police chief since last September expressed pride in the "wise and tempered" reaction of the police to protesters and their efforts in "avoiding any injuries."

Commander Rajabzadeh's claims were made despite official reports that at least forty people have been killed in the post-election events, a number which the opposition claims is closer to eighty.

... Payvand News - 02/21/10 ... --

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