Iran General NewsParamilitary vigilantes given police role in Iran

Paramilitary vigilantes given police role in Iran

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Aug. 06 – The head of police in the province of Isfahan, central Iran, said in a gathering on
Saturday 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. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 06 – The head of police in the province of Isfahan, central Iran, said in a gathering on Saturday 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.

Brigadier-General Hossein Zolfaqari said, “The Bassij forces, acting as agents of the judiciary, in accordance with the law and their particular circumstances can act against apparent crimes”.

“In circumstances when the police are not present or when they require assistance or when they for whatever reason do not wish to carry out their tasks, uniformed members of the Bassij can in accordance with the law act against apparent crimes”, Zolfaqari added.

Last week, the newly appointed head of Iran’s police, or State Security Forces, also announced that members of the Bassij could take part in operations against dissent alongside the police force.

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.

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