Unprecedented militarization of Tehran by Revolutionary Guards out of fear of continuing public unrest

The Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Guards announced yesterday that 50,000 members of the Guards Corps and the paramilitary Bassij would be holding a "combat encampment" in East Tehran for three days beginning on Wednesday, August 4.

"The exercises are aimed at strengthening the security of Tehran, raising combat readiness to take on any threat from enemies of the Islamic revolution... and to disappoint the internal and external enemies," Safavi said, pointing out that military exercises would be conducted with "helicopters and dozens of warplanes taking part."

Referring to the six-day uprising in Tehran that shook the foundations of the clerical regime, Safavi said: "These exercises cannot be unrelated to the recent events." Safavi added: "We are worried for the authority of the system and are doing our best to protect that along with our nation's security."

The Guards Corps commander said his forces intended to double the number of paramilitary Bassij units, which played an active role in the bloody suppression of the Tehran Uprising.

The unprecedented militarization of Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards is a clear indication of the clerical dictatorship's fears of the continuing popular unrest and antigovernment demonstrations in the capital. The mullahs' Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told the Friday prayer congregation in Tehran that "new conspiracies and mischief are possible at any moment," thereby acknowledging the unstable sate of the regime and the prospects of continuing popular uprising. Khamenei reiterated that the "enemies wanted to blow up a powder keg in Iran" and added that "if the riots had not been repressed, you can imagine what would have happened."

In another development, the chief of Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Courts vowed yesterday that more arrests were underway, while saying that in Tehran alone 1,500 people had been arrested during the uprising. Gholamhossein Rahbarpour said: "Those who made speeches and issued communiques to incite and instigate riots and disturbed the peace of the public will be summoned to the court as accused and they will be investigated." Paving the way for more arrests, Rahbarpour said that "all the detainees who have been released so far may be rearrested."

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
August 1, 1999

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