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June 16, 2009

NAHID SIAMDOUST: ‘The Basijis are a paramilitary group. You know, in the wider sense of the word, Basijis are something up to, you know, perhaps even 20 million of Iranians. These are people who are active in mosques, who do good work, who do voluntary social welfare type of work. But a very, very small minority of the Basijis, who call themselves Ansar-e-Hezbollah, the followers of Hezbollah, they also bear arms, you know, batons and sticks and chains and so on. And it’s this minority of, say, you know, 200,000 to 300,000 paramilitary Basijis that the state can mobilize to come to its support when it needs them. So, for example, ten years ago, with the student uprising, the Basijis were called in, and the killings at the Tehran University dormitory happened through the hands of—at the hands of the Basijis.

‘And again, these past days, the level of violence I’ve seen handed out by Basijis has been far greater than what I’ve seen coming from the riot police, who are also extremely violent with, you know, all the gear that they have. But the Basijis, they’re just going at it, because they don’t really have any—what’s the word? They don’t really have to answer to anyone.’

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2009 14:14


    I’m not sure who you are but I started reading your blog after Angry Arab linked to it. Your insights on the Iranian elections have been very informative. Keep blogging! We need you! I loved your interview with your grandmother. If you can interview her again that would be great! Would love to hear her insights on the latest developments. Thanks again.

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