IRGC’s Basij Paramilitary Trains Special Battalions for Crackdown on Potential Protests
In an interview with Dana Website, Mohammad Reza Touyserkani, the representative of the Supreme Leader inside the IRGC’s Basij paramilitary organization, described “special battalions” that have been formed inside the Basij to suppress civil and street protests.
Referring to the brutal crackdown on street protesters in 2009, Mohammad Reza Touyserkani boasted about the Basij’s role in “neutralizing the 2009 Sedition.” “I dare say the Basij has the most advanced defense system in the world. The system designed inside the Basij today is to defend the Iranian borders and soil. These designs have been carried out inside dedicated bases, and military exercises and special training is also ongoing without media coverage. Special battalions have also been formed,” Touyserkani told Dana.
Although in this interview Mohammad Reza Touyserkani denies the Basij’s role in the post-election violence on protesters, ample evidence and images indicate the Basij’s role in the events. When Iranian people took to streets following the disputed 2009 presidential election, Iranian security forces cracked down on the protesters, imprisoning hundreds, injuring and killing dozens of unarmed citizens who were engaged in peaceful protests. Basij forces played a pivotal role in much of the violence against citizens. Basij’s concentration on specialized training for street protests seems to be a part of the Iranian government’s concerted effort to prepare for the immediate suppression of any potential protests.