Ever since protesters were brutally suppressed in Iran because of the demonstrations against the results of the 2009 presidential elections, discontent among the various layers of the military and police personnel regarding the deployment of the forces against protesting civilians has been on the rise. High-ranking commanders of these forces have become highly suspicious of the spread of such negative sentiments even among the voluntary paramilitary Basij force. Recently this sense of suspicion has been expressed by various news sites affiliated with the IRGC and Basij. Internal bulletin boards for political officers of the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have warned of “the infiltration of Basij centers by anti-revolutionaries” and have stated that “just recently anti-revolutionary groups had ordered their followers to enroll at and infiltrate Basij compounds, and receive Basij active force ID cards.”
Officials in charge of the “Analysis and Justification Office of IRGC” have linked this announcement to the activities of “a terrorist group in the west of the country” and have explained the reason behind this alleged infiltration as a way “not to be identified when going about their missions of causing terror and destruction”. But such warnings have been reiterated time and time again by high commanders of IRGC and Basij, several extremist clerics and even the supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei.
On November 25th last year ayatollah Khamenei dedicated a main part of a speech he delivered to the IRGC and Basij personnel to the provision of political advice and guidance. Referring to the protests of 2009 regarding the presidential elections, he called the events “a complex sedition” and added, “During those events, the agitators ignored the interests of the country in order to rise to power and they turned their back to the clear path of truth in such a way that the number one enemies of the nation rejoiced at their deeds and supported them. Some just didn’t and still don’t see the clear path of truth, however some others do recognize the truth but due to their indulgence in egoistic desires don’t want to heed to their reckoning.” During the same speech ayatollah Khamenei praised the Basij force but emphasized, “To remain a Basiji persevere in this path is even more important, and this requires constant meditation and self-discipline”. Those messages of the ayatollah also implicitly conveyed his sense of discontent at some of the Basij and IRGC personnel, a sense that had been expressed more clearly by the IRGC commander Hossein Hamedani earlier.
Earlier, during an interview with Khabar Online on October 2nd 2010, the commander of Mohammad Rasool-allah IRGC force was asked if in facing last year’s protests “those forces responsible to maintain security responded inadequately or acted in a way that the image of Basij was tarnished or misrepresented?” The commander replied in words that clarify its role in the eyes of its commanders: “What do we need the Basij for? Do we need the Basij for its own sake or for the sake of the revolution? We don’t need Basij if it is to remain inactive when the regime is under attack”.
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