Saturday, July 30, 2005

Iran’s dreaded paramilitary force to be given police role

Iran Focus: an MEK website.
The newly appointed head of Iran’s police, or State Security Forces, announced Friday that members of the Bassij, paramilitary vigilantes loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were authorised to assist the police in cracking down on dissent. READ MORE

Brigadier General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam told a police garrison in Mashad, northeast Iran,The Bassij forces can assist agents of the State Security Forces in their activities”.

In mid-July the new police chief called on the forces under his command to deal “decisively with criminals” and use live bullets if necessary.

Khamenei’s appointment of Ahmadi Moghaddam, a veteran paramilitary commander with a reputation for ruthlessness, was widely regarded as a move to place the law enforcement forces under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

Moghaddam was the number two in the paramilitary Bassij and commander of the force in Greater Tehran. He is among the top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and has also been a long-time ally of President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two worked together closely in the military crackdown on Iran’s autonomy-seeking Kurds in the 1980s, when they were both Revolutionary Guards commanders based in Hamzeh Garrison near the north-western city of Orumieh.
The regime is preparing for more unrest.