Iranian leader praises the force tasked with suppressing dissent
In a televised speech on Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader hailed paramilitary volunteers charged with quelling opposition as dozens of ophthalmologists cautioned that an increasing number of protesters have been blinded by security forces during anti-government demonstrations.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed unsubstantiated assertions that demonstrators around the nation are “tools” of the US and its “mercenaries” in a speech to Basij members, the volunteer paramilitary branch of the elite Revolutionary Guard.
Khamenei remarked, alluding to the U.S., “(The) Basij should not forget that the main clash is with global hegemony.” The speech commemorating Basij week in Iran reaffirmed earlier criticisms of the protests as an international plan to undermine Iran.
Regarding the recent nationwide turmoil, Khamenei praised the Basij’s military and social prowess, saying the group “sacrificed themselves to safeguard people from a gang of rioters and mercenaries.” “They made the ultimate sacrifice to fight oppression.”
The death of a young woman while in the care of Iran’s morality police sparked protests that started on September 17, and the Basij has assumed a leadership role in putting an end to them. Her passing spurred months of demonstrations against the nation’s head covering law, but they soon turned into one of the most significant challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the tumultuous years following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
According to social media, protests continued on Saturday at certain universities in the capital Tehran and other towns. The Iranian security forces have conducted a harsh nationwide crackdown, which has caused the demonstrators to disperse more. Commercial strikes have also been requested by protesters.
According to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Khamenei made his remarks the day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with a group of Basij members and lauded their efforts to uphold security.
According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the events, at least 448 people were killed and more than 18,000 were detained during the rallies and the harsh security force response that followed. This brutal crackdown on dissent in Iran has received criticism. Iran has not disclosed the number of people who have died or been imprisoned.
According to the pro-reform Iranian news sites Sobhema and Iran International as well as other websites on social media, 140 ophthalmologists expressed their worries in a letter concerning a rise in patients suffering significant eye injuries after being shot with metal pellets and rubber bullets. The letter, which was addressed to the head of the country’s ophthalmologists association, stated that “unfortunately in many cases the hit caused the loss of sight in one or both eyes.”
The doctors asked that the head of Iran’s Opthalmology Association inform the appropriate authorities of their worries on the irreparable harm done by security forces.