An increasingly common call amid the many protests since Iran’s presidential election has become “Join us!” This is not a vague invitation. It is frequently directed specifically at the members of Iran’s volunteer civilian militia known as the Basij. They are subject to the direct orders of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard. As plain-clothed militia, their key advantage in policing the Iranian people is their ability to blend in with them.

Since the presidential elections, members of the Basij (Basiji), have been beating and even killing peaceful protesters, as well as entering homes and assisting in arrests. While their duties also include responding to natural and man-made disasters, as well as “moral” policing, today they have gained notoriety for their vicious attacks on the demonstrators in the streets of Iran.

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