Basij Commander Calls the West Retards
TEHRAN, IRAN----- In an interview with the Fars News Agency, Basij commander ,Mohammad Reza Naghdi, stated today’s demonstrations are the work of “western spies”. He further added “Western intelligence agencies are searching for a mentally challenged person who can set himself on fire in Tehran to trigger developments like those in Egypt and Tunisia." Naghdi compared the West to retards because “They think by imitating such actions they can emerge victorious."
A human rights group reported that one person has been shot dead by the security forces and scores of others have been taken to nearby hospitals and are listed in critical condition. At least 250 people have been taken into custody.
The opposition party, in defiance of government warnings, pressed ahead with its planned public rally. Eye witness in Iran report tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets shouting “death to dictator”. Others are shouting “death to Khomeini”.
Dictator refers to the Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Khomeini has the fierce support of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its subsidiary militia, the Basij forces. Those security forces brutally suppressed a popular uprising in 2009 when the leaders of Green movement accused the government of election fraud that led to reelection of Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Radio Zamaneh, security forces have been deployed in large numbers around key locations. Subway stations and major streets in Teheran are reportedly closed in an effort to prevent demonstrators from joining the rally.
Some eye witnesses are reporting security personnel with unusually large weapons. Buses and with their curtains pulled down and black police cars are spotted everywhere along the march route.
Some eyewitnesses told Radio Zamaneh that the security forces have begun confiscating cell phones if protestors are seen using the phones.
The Internet service in Iran is being heavily monitored by the government and communication out of Iran is becoming increasingly difficult. Foreign journalists are not allowed to cover the rally and local media is being stifled by Ahmadinejad’s government.
Some cell phone videos of the demonstrations have surfaced on You Tube but the accuracy of their content cannot be ascertained. Some sporadic clashes between the protesters and security forces have been reported. However, reports of deadly clashes in a scale similar to the 2009 demonstrations have not yet surfaced.
BBC reported that live ammunitions have been used around Azadi Square, the end point of today’s rally. Ambulances were seen arriving and leaving the scene. An unconfirmed number of protestors have been injured as result of bullet wounds and beatings by security forces.
Azerbaijan Street, near Azadi Square is the site of the most intense clashes between the protesters and the security forces.
Protests have been reported in Tabriz, Shiraz, Esfahan, Ahavaz, Rasht and Kermanshah.
Tags: Basij , Iran , West
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