Regime Responds to MEK Resistance Unit with Increased Patrols
The Revolutionary Guards’ Basij Force is responding to the growth of MEK resistance units in cities across Iran with an increase in patrols. Resistance units have proved to be very effective in organizing protests against the clerical regime, and as word of their success has spread and their numbers have grown, the regime and its officials have become increasingly fearful of the MEK and the Iranian opposition movement as a whole. As a result, the IRGC’s Basij Force has stepped up its suppressive efforts.
Gholam-Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander of the IRGC’s Basij Force, recently announced that his forces will soon begin conducting new drills. Gheibparvar said that the Bassij Force had been conducting patrols in neighborhoods for the last seven or eight months and had set up protection for checkpoints. This was an acknowledgment of the public concern about checkpoints in neighborhoods.
“We have begun a series of plans to upgrade the IRGC Basij,” he said. “We have not rounded up our patrols and we believe our patrols are more effective than checkpoints. More recently, these Bassij patrols have been dubbed as the Razavioun network.”
Gheibparvar noted that the primary purpose of the Basij patrols is “to provide security.” He also states that the Basij Force is implementing a new initiative as well, a program they are calling the “Service & Security Epic.”
Gheibparvar’s words make it clear that the purpose of the Basij patrols is to suppress the ongoing protest movement and to place Basij spies within neighborhoods to identify activists within the Iranian Resistance.
The commander’s words also underscore the regime’s fear of the increasing protest activity taking place in cities across Iran. The prospect of another uprising like the one that took place in late December and early January and spread to more than 140 cities across Iran terrifies the regime leadership because they are all too aware that such an uprising is not only possible but imminent.
The IRGC and Basij Force played a large role in the suppression of the December/January uprising, which came after nearly two weeks of massive protests across Iran. Over 50 protesters were killed in the suppression of the uprising and at least 8,000 people were arrested.
The regime has used neighborhood patrols in the past to control and suppress the people. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari claimed that the patrols are a “service to the people,” adding that “wherever there is a problem (for the regime) the Basij will be focusing on that issue.”
On Iranian social media, people are comparing these plans to the ones implemented by the regime in the 1980s to suppress the MEK. The MEK, it should be noted, is still a thriving organization, which the regime continues to fight using the same ineffective measures that failed in the ‘80s.
Despite the regime’s many efforts to suppress all opposition, the MEK continues to expand its network inside Iran through the formation of resistance units in cities throughout the country. The regime is aware of the Resistance and is rightfully afraid, but it cannot stop the wave of change that is sweeping the country.