In a recent meeting with retired members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC, openly acknowledged their involvement in suppressing and even killing young protesters who dared to voice their dissent against the regime during the recent nationwide uprising. He also revealed that these IRGC retirees had been systematically organized to quash the protests.
Disturbingly, prior reports have shed light on a troubling development: the gratuitous distribution of thousands of housing units to IRGC retirees in western Tehran. This move seems calculated to lure them back into the fold and incentivize their participation in stifling street protests.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Seyed Majid Ebn Al-Reza, the CEO of the Armed Forces Social Security Organization, announced in July of this year that construction had commenced on a colossal project involving 500,000 housing units for both current employees and retirees of the Armed Forces.
In blunt contrast to these initiatives, Mojtaba Yousefi, a member of the Islamic Council’s Construction Commission, paints a grim picture of Iran’s housing landscape, indicating that at least 51% of the nation’s population grapples with the harsh realities of being renters or homeless.
In a speech delivered before an audience of IRGC retirees and their dependents, Hossein Salami disparagingly labeled the extensive, months-long uprising by Iranians against the regime as mere ‘disturbances.’ He went on to address the commanders and retired personnel of the IRGC, saying, ‘You are still in the field. It’s you who should step up, get organized, and act when these disturbances arise.’
Salami underscored that IRGC retirees have remained actively engaged in handling popular protests throughout the 45-year history of the regime. He asserted, ‘Last year, during times like these, you witnessed the chaos, the hopes, the fantasies, the illusions, and the dreams that the protesters harbored. They were steeped in deception and rumors. The enemy may be weakened and despondent, but it’s returned from a different angle.’
Salami’s characterization of the protesting citizens as ‘the enemy,’ especially given recent reports from Iran, is jarring. On September 16, the first anniversary of the nationwide uprising, repressive military forces of the regime descended upon the streets of Iran like never before. Armed to the teeth and using military equipment, they transformed the streets into virtual barracks, leaving no stone unturned to thwart any semblance of protest or even small gatherings.
What’s more, as retired IRGC personnel were being deployed to suppress and, in some cases, fatally wound protesters, Salami openly admitted to having warned the opposition a year earlier, stating, ‘We will return with these young individuals whom you’ve deceived. We will come with these young individuals. We will exact revenge.’
Historically, the regime had resorted to utilizing non-organized forces to crush popular protests due to the inadequacy of its organized military forces. This was notably evident during the 2009 protests, as acknowledged by the slain IRGC commander Hossein Hamedani. He revealed that they had marshaled thousands of ‘thugs and mobs’ around the capital of Iran to engage in the brutal suppression, arrests, and beatings of peaceful protesters.
Even further back, before his demise in Syria in October 2014, Hamedani disclosed in an interview with Hamadan Youth magazine, ‘I identified 5,000 individuals with malicious intent and turned them into members. These three battalions demonstrated that if we wished to train fighters, we needed individuals familiar with knives and machetes.’
Moreover, statements from high-ranking IRGC commanders suggest that, in recent years, a significant portion of the forces dispatched from Iran to bolster the Assad regime in Syria consisted of retired IRGC members. It appears that this organization has not ceased its relentless suppression and violence against protesting citizens, fueled by lucrative incentives such as housing, vehicles, and substantial loans.
During his recent speech, Hossein Salami pledged to ‘provide even more amenities for IRGC retirees’ in a bid to encourage their continued involvement in these activities. He expressed gratitude for their past and ongoing efforts, remarking, ‘We acknowledge your contributions in both recent and distant years, and we are committed to addressing your concerns, for there is no asset more valuable to us than you. We aim to earn your satisfaction, as Islam perpetually relies on your support.’
According to numerous human rights organizations, the nationwide uprising of 2022 led to the tragic loss of nearly 750 lives, including dozens of children and teenagers, at the hands of regime forces, including retired IRGC personnel. Additionally, hundreds of young individuals suffered life-altering injuries, including the loss of their eyes, due to deliberate pellet bullet shots to the face by the regime’s forces.
Source » irannewsupdate