Iran Human RightsIranian security chief signals crackdown

Iranian security chief signals crackdown


Los Angeles Times: The head of Iran’s law enforcement agency warned Friday of a renewed crackdown on Iranians who adhere to Western cultural ways.
The Los Angeles Times

He tells people to expect a campaign against those who embrace ‘rotten Western values.’

By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, Special to The Times

TEHRAN — The head of Iran’s law enforcement agency warned Friday of a renewed crackdown on Iranians who adhere to Western cultural ways.

Esmail Ahmadi-Moghadam, chief of Iran’s security forces, said pressure on “thugs and gangs” over the last six months had proved successful, and told Iranians to expect tougher enforcement of the Islamic Republic’s moral codes.

In the near future, he told worshipers before Friday prayers in the capital, security officials would crack down on vendors selling Western CDs and movies, small-time drug peddlers, reckless motorcyclists who dart in and out of traffic and knife-wielding “vagrants.”

“Thanks to enforcing law and order, we are witnessing a dramatic reduction in homicides,” he said. “Despite the nagging of the West-toxified critics who want Iranians to abandon their Islamic and national values and embrace rotten Western values, the wrongdoing of the thugs has decreased.”

Ahmadi-Moghadam, a relative by marriage of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, gave a blistering condemnation of the U.S. and Columbia University in New York, which recently played host to Ahmadinejad.

“In the so-called cradle of the free and open society — the U.S. and Columbia University — they asked our respectable president, ‘Why aren’t boozing, homosexuality and debauchery allowed in your country?’ ” he said.

After the speech, Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a hard-line cleric, urged local media to better “elucidate” the recent words of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate political and religious authority.

Khamenei urged Iranians to better conserve natural resources ahead of potential new international sanctions over Tehran’s refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program.

Iran has been controlled by Islamic clerics and their followers since a popular uprising against its U.S.-backed monarchy in 1979. Washington and Tehran remain at odds over Iran’s nuclear program, which Western leaders fear is aimed at producing weapons and Iran says is for civilian energy purposes.

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Special correspondent Mostaghim reported from Tehran and Times staff writer Daragahi from Beirut.

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