Iranian protesters
Iranian protestersIsrael news photo

Horrific stories are now being released of the crushing hand of Iran's state militia, used against citizens opposed to the rule of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and especially against women.

Since the re-election of Ahmadinejad in late June, which was protested by many anti-Islamic Revolutionary Iranians as fixed, protests have swept through the Iranian capital city of Tehran and the rest of the country, demanding a recount of votes and the appointment of opposition presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi as president of Iran.

Yet that is not what has happened. With Ahmadinejad's victory declared official, paramilitary mercenaries loyal to Khamenei have taken to the streets, terrorizing citizens and beating protesters, some to the point of death.

Amateur videos attributed to Iranian students have saturated internet video sharing sites. One, showing the street shooting and slow death of female student and protester Neda Soltan, has come to symbolize the violent and oppressive Iranian regime.

The Basij militia, founded by First Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini in 1979, are being heavily employed to instill fear in protestors.  Receiving their orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, they are ardently loyal to the current religious leader, Khameini.

Populated primarily by youth seeking official benefits, the organization has not just been employed to crack down on anti-government actions, but generally enforces strict dress and social codes against women as well as spying out immoral conduct such as the distribution of anti-government propaganda or the possession of satellite dishes.

Reports are now surfacing that on June 14, Basiji militants broke into the dormitories of Tehran University against Iranian law, terrorizing students and murdering five of them. In a report by Britain's Guardian newspaper, 133 students were snatched from their beds in the middle of the night, following a severe beating of several students in front of the main gate to the university during the day.

Basiji militants broke into the dormitories of Tehran University against Iranian law, terrorizing students and murdering five of them.

Approximately a quarter of them were taken to the basement of the Interior Ministry where vote counting was taking place. The rest were taken to a security police building, some reporting mistreatment and others torture. 

Five students died during the attack, being beaten repeatedly on the head with electric batons and buried the next day without notification to their families, according to the Guardian.  After they were informed, families were warned not to mention their children or hold funerals, as was the case with the family of Soltan. 

It is not yet possible to ascertain the number of injuries and casualties sustained by protestors, as hospitals and medical personnel have been forbidden from publicizing the facts. However, casualty estimates by human rights organizations have reached as high as 500, a far cry from the government's toll of 20.

Not only do the Basiji exemplify the iron hand of Iran's religious leadership, but also its sordid morality. A sobering interview with an anonymous veteran Basiji militant published last week in the Jerusalem Post reveals the complicity of religious authorities in years of rape of female prisoners, deemed "marriages" by prison mullahs.

Basiji youth frequently perform street thefts and sexual assaults against girls too frightened to protest, said the source.

But once behind bars and sentenced to execution, young women are "married" to Basiji prison guards, who rape them the evening prior to their deaths.

Iranian law forbids the execution of virgins, regardless of their crimes. Non-consensual prison marriages are therefore performed to enable the state to execute the female criminals.

According to the source, young women are frequently drugged on their wedding nights, because of their fear. In the morning, said the anonymous Basiji, girls seem more ready to die.

Laws against Iranian women, while not seen to be as harsh as those promulgated against Saudi women and others in the Islamic world, are still disproportionately strict. Punishments for crimes such as adultery occasionally result in public stonings, though the practice was officially banned in 2002. In such cases, women are guilty until proven innocent – for men accused of adultery, the opposite is true.