Newspaper Roozonline has an interview (in Persian) with one of the young plainclothes militiamen who have been beating protesters.
UPDATE: Robert says the man is paid 2m rial per day, which would be about £1220 for ten days of work. A hefty fee, even by UK standards. A reader writes: "You can imagine what that kind of money means to a villager from Khorasan".
The Guardian's Robert Tait sends this synopsis:
The man, who has come from a small town in the eastern province of Khorasan and has never been in Tehran before, says he is being paid 2m rial (£122) to assault protestors with a heavy wooden stave. He says the money is the main incentive as it will enable him to get married and may even enable him to afford more than one wife. Leadership of the volunteers has been provided by a man known only as "Hajji", who has instructed his men to "beat the counter-revolutionaries so hard that they won't be able to stand up". The volunteers, most of them from far-flung provinces such as Khuzestan, Arak and Mazandaran, are being kept in hostel accommodation, reportedly in east Tehran. Other volunteers, he says, have been brought from Lebanon, where the Iranian regime has strong allies in the Hezbollah movement. They are said to be more highly-paid than their Iranian counterparts and are put up in hotels. The last piece of information seems to confirm the suspicion of many Iranians that foreign security personnel are being used to suppress the demonstrators. For all his talk of the legal process, this interview provides a key insight into where Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes the true source of his legitimacy rests.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Basij as Mercenaries
According to a report posted at the Guardian, (scroll down to 3:32PM on the blog), the baton wielding Basij who have been wantonly bashing heads for several days now in Iran, are well paid mercenaries.