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Iran: Government and Police Tackle Each Other

By Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz Online; photos by Milad Beheshti, Jame Jam

Last Thursday, police agents attacked an exhibition on "Digital Media" in Tehran which had been organized by the government, beating an advisor to the minister of Islamic Guidance and using tear gas inside the exhibition hall. They also brawled with member of the special force protecting Tehran's Mosala fairgrounds.

Following this incident, media close to the ruling establishment strongly criticized police elements - under the control of the government - involved in the clash. The chief of Tehran's police force however issued a statement in support of the actions of his forces and said their measures were "legal and with the purpose of maintaining public respect." This statement was issued after the hardline pro-government Principlist media had published reports about the clash and the identity of government targets, including the advisor to the minister, and some officers of the special guards.

Initially, Tabnak website, close to Expediency Council secretary and former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezai, published a news report titled, "Do not Blame the Police Force for the Actions of Some Agents." It wrote, "A number of plain-clothes police officers who had entered the exhibition and introduced themselves as officers from the police again created an incident for the police force. These individuals who had gone to the exhibition without prior coordination with the security officials of the expo asked that the "Classified" stall be shut down, and then confiscated the material and equipment at the stall and arrested the attendants. The confidential stall is part of the annual media exhibition. This stall normally displays issues that negatively impact the cultural elements of society in cyberspace, including violent and Western-style games to officials and visitors. It should be noted that this section of the exhibition is not open to the public and is exclusively for officials aimed at informing them of the programs that enemies have and the harms they can bring in cyberspace. Nevertheless, it appears that some erroneous reports made some plain-clothes men who presented themselves as police officers to believe that this stall was open to public! Therefore, without showing their ID cards or a warrant, they insisted on shutting the exhibit and arresting some of its organizers. And despite the explanation of exhibition officials regarding the nature of that particular exhibit and that security issues there were the responsibility of the exhibition security and not plain-clothes men, these agents remained on the premises which resulted in physical clashes and the use of tear gas."

The report continued, "Following these clashes, the Revolutionary Guard unit at the Mosala, got involved and in a commendable measure attempted to persuade the plain-clothes intruders to respect the laws and regulations covering the secret stall and ending the brawl. The plain-clothes agents then removed the handcuffs on individuals they had detained but took away all the equipment and material in the stall as they walked away. Certainly such behavior at a cultural event is not approved by the head of the police general Ahmadi Moghadam. It is expected that an investigation will prevent the standing of the police force to be harmed."

An informed source told Shabake Iran website that an inexperienced and misled security guard of a mobile unit at the exhibition resulted in an ugly clash and confrontation with an advisor to the minister of Guidance who was handcuffed and insulted. Subsequently, the agents of the police used tear gas inside the building on the pretext that unethical behavior was taking place at the stall.

According to Jahan News the police defended its actions and said the plain-clothes agents were irresponsible individuals. It should be noted that in the past, the police had arrested citizens and private exhibit stall organizers in the past but this was the first time they had had done the same over a government organized stall and clashed with Revolutionary Guard agents even though they knew that the exhibit was a government stall. The use of tear gas also was a first.


... Payvand News - 10/22/12 ... --

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