By Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz Online
Even though the disqualification of two powerful presidential candidates in Iran has resulted in a sharp decline in public enthusiasm and energy regarding the June 14 presidential election, the country's security apparatus continues to warn about some plans to disrupt the elections and issues threats against the population for possible protests.
Security forces in Tehran - September 2010
In the most recent intimidation tactic, the commander of the Mohammad Rasool-Allah Revolutionary Guard unit for greater Tehran - the very armed force unit that bore the greatest responsibility in the violent crackdown of 2009 - revealed plans to use aerial surveillance of those he called "seditionists," a term Iranian ruling circles use for any opponents to their goals. Speaking to Fars news agency - an organization closely tied to the security-military apparatus - Mohsen Kazemeini said, "The Mohammad Rasool-Allah Revolutionary Guards Force comprised of 27 divisions and Basij districts with 23 districts including ethnic centers and 50,000 cells."
"Today, we enjoy great intelligence over the greater Tehran region in the cultural, social, economic, political and security fields and are ready to act in all of these fields. We have an aerial surveillance unit against seditionists and monitor every act of counter-revolutionaries," he added.
These remarks are exceptional because even at the height of the 2009 riots and violent government measures, security forces refrained from providing numbers and details about the forces at their disposal.
Iran's chief of police, Ismail Ahmadi-Moghadam, also spoke again about possible disturbances on election day and issued threatening warnings. He also said that one of the disqualified candidates continued his campaign efforts, which he said was illegal unless the actions were private and not public. He reiterated his assertion that the police was ready for any disturbance, interpreted by analysts to mean street protests. He talk included his interpretation of the policies of the West. "The West has changed its tactic towards economic pressures and intends to translate that into an uncontrollable tsunami." But he said despite this, there was a 38 percent drop in labor unrest in the country.
His remarks made much reference to the 2009 riots and protests and he said that his force had learned much from those events, and was therefore ready to deal with similar actions if they materialized again. He said the confiscation of satellite receiving dishes in the city was part of the cyber activities that were witnessed in 2009.
Moghadam also said that plain-clothes militia had been prepared for intervention as well.
In addition to the threats by the police and Revolutionary Guard commanders, an official working group announced that people's text messages and emails were monitored and if calls are made for any gatherings, the senders would be confronted. Mohammad-Reza Aghamiri went into specifics on this and said that when messages were sent to massive recipients, intelligent software would warn the security forces.
According to Fararoo website, social monitoring is not confined to air and email/text media but will include blocking the internet if a "security order" on this is issued.
The deputy minister of science, whose agency is responsible for institutions of higher education in the country, announced the absence of any permits for student or student organization activities.
Aftab news site has reported that officials of the state radio and television network too have announced special regulations and punitive measures for radio and television announcers, adding that any violations would be treated as crimes against national security.
Eye witness reports also indicate greater presence of police and security vehicles and personnel in Tehran. This includes motor-cycle patrols, which were extensively used in the 2009 protests and crackdown.
These fear-instilling measures are being instituted by the state while no group has taken any action after the disqualification of the popular presidential candidates. These actions contradict the claim that the Iranian regime constantly makes about having the most quietest and "clean" elections in the region.
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