Islamic vigilantes assist police in cracking down on dissent    Thu. 8 Sep 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 08 – The newly-appointed Iran police chief said that as part of a new policy to aggressively crack down on “trouble-makers”, or dissidents, in society, the SSF were being assisted by members of the hard-line Islamist Bassij, a government-run Persian-language website reported on Thursday.

The Bassij, para-military vigilantes, are loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

State Security Forces commander Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said that the new crackdown coincided with the start of the new academic year, when travel and activity is at its peak, the website Entekhab wrote.

There had been a “formulation of cooperation between the State Security Forces and the Bassij”, Ahmadi Moghaddam said.

The SSF commander said that under the new guidelines the Bassij will act in coordination with the police to prevent social disturbances.

Ahmadi Moghaddam was previously the deputy chief of the paramilitary Bassij and commander of the force in Greater Tehran before becoming commander of the SSF.

In July, he announced that members of the Bassij were authorised to assist the police in cracking down on dissent.

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.