Date of Publish: ۸ آذر ۱۳۸۸

Montazeri: Basij not supposed to support path of Satan

gathering of supporters with Ayatollah Montazeri on the occasion of Eid-e Gorban

Prominent Iranian reformist cleric, Ayatollah Hoseinali Montazeri criticized the role of Basij militia in the violent suppression of the post-election protesters and maintained the Basij was not established to serve “in the path of the Satan.”

In the post election events, Basij militia played an instrumental role in confronting protesters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alleged fraudulent victory. Some reports tell of Basij forces firing into crowds and causing the death of several peaceful demonstrators.

The authorities have denied Basij role in shootings. They claim infiltrators in Basij uniforms had carried out the attacks.

Ayatollah Montazeri commented on harsh beatings carried out by Basij forces saying: “Some have engaged in beating people just to secure praises from their superiors.”

The role of the volunteer force, Basij in the post-election crackdown of protesters has been criticized by numerous political figures and organizations.

Basij militia was established in 1979 by the order of Ayatollah Khomeini as a volunteer paramilitary force to protect the country. In the Iran-Iraq war thousands of Basij members died in the battlefield.

Since then the function of Basij forces which remain under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards has underwent several changes.

Opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, who was prime minister of Iran in the early days of Basij’s establishment, announced last week: “Basij was not supposed to become an organization that deprives people from their right to vote freely.”

Brigadier-General Hosein Hamadani

Today Revolutionary Guard Commander, Hosein Hamadani announced that Basij functions have been modified and instead of a “military and defence” function from now on they will engage in “security and cultural” activities. He told Mehr news agency that “by security activities we mean confrontation of soft threats.”

Iranian authorities claim the post election protesters are engaged in a “soft war” against the Islamic Republic by creating adverse propaganda against the Islamic Republic in the media and trying to topple the government through non-violent means.

To confront the so-called “soft war,” Basij forces have been assimilated into the Revolutionary Guards and a section under the title of Basij-e Mostazafin has been established under the supervision of Brigadier-General Naghdi.

Commander Naghdi is a former Security and Intelligence Commander who was reportedly involved in the attack on university students in their dorm ten years ago and also in the arrests and torture of a number of the capital’s city officials.