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Spotlight on Iranian militia force

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Spotlight on Iranian militia force

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Iran’s religious militia, the Basij force, has come under the spotlight. They were accused of firing on Mousavi demonstrators and carrying out brutal attacks on university dormitories. At least seven died in the shootings and it is reported that at least four students have died. Some say the death toll could be much higher.

Iran’s interior ministry has ordered an investigation into the university attacks after the country’s influential speaker of parliament condemned the violence. Mousavi supporters have also accused the Basij force of electoral fraud. Some reports claim the militia took control of the vote counting process at the Interior Ministry and destroyed ballot boxes. The Basij was set up by former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, just after the revolution of 1979. Seen as totally loyal to the regime, the force is often used to quell dissent. Up to a million volunteers can be mobilised. The militia is located in all of Iran’s major towns and cities, under the control of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.