New roundups in Iran as hard-liners crack down    Sat. 20 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 20 – Iran’s new police chief has ordered a new wave of arrests in the country’s capital by the para-military State Security Forces as part of a crackdown on young people harbouring anti-government sentiments.

State Security Forces have been instructed to use brute force to combat dissent in particular among young people in the latest in a series of extensions of police power on the streets.

In late-July, the recently appointed head of
Iran’s State Security Forces announced that members of the Bassij, Islamist vigilantes loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were officially part of the law enforcement agencies.

“The Bassij forces can assist agents of the State Security Forces in their activities”, said Brigadier General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam.

Earlier this week, the new Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad went even further and said members of the government-organised Ansar-e Hizbollah - the clerical regime’s “storm troopers” – were also part of the law enforcement machinery.