Iran Focus, London, Jun. 28 – WT: The Basij have evolved since that war into Iran's unofficial morality police. There is a reason young Iranians become members of the Basij: money. "We are getting paid 200,000 toman [about $200] a day by the government," a member of the group said in an e-mail. "We are being instructed to go into the streets and hit people, everyone and anyone who is out, until they can no longer get up. We are being fed lunch and dinner and given rooms to sleep in at night in undisclosed locations."
London, Jun. 28 – The following are excerpts of some of the international media reporting on Iran on Sunday:
Iran's Basij militia turns strong arm against dissent
The Washington Times
They have become the face of repression since Iran's disputed June 12 elections, but the auxiliary security force known as the Basij once played a heroic role.
For many Iranians, however, the Basij have evolved since that war into Iran's unofficial morality police, responsible for enforcing Islamic dress codes, questioning couples about their marital status and raiding mixed-gender parties.
They also have been used in the past to clamp down on protesters, including students and women's rights advocates.
There is another reason young Iranians become members of the Basij: money.
"We are getting paid 200,000 toman [about $200] a day by the government," a member of the group said in an e-mail made available to The Times. "We are being instructed to go into the streets and hit people, everyone and anyone who is out, until they can no longer get up. We are being fed lunch and dinner and given rooms to sleep in at night in undisclosed locations."
The Basij member, who asked not to be named to avoid government retribution, repeated a claim heard frequently from Iranians in recent days that members of Iran-backed Arab militant groups have also been deployed against demonstrators.
"We are not alone," the Basij member said. "There are Arabs among us, but they are getting paid more than we are. They are being put up in hotels, and they have different weapons than we do."
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini founded the Basij to safeguard the 1979 Iranian revolution he led. It has taken on new powers since Mr. Ahmadinejad, a former member of the group, became president in 2005. There are now Basij chapters in almost every Iranian city.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency has estimated that the Basij have 12.5 million members, 5 million of whom are women.
But a 2005 study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said there are 90,000 full-time members and 300,000 reservists, with several hundred thousand more available to be mobilized in emergencies such as earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Verdict expected on Iran election
Iran's powerful Guardian Council is due to give its verdict on the result of the disputed presidential election, two weeks after the poll was held.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has refused to support the electoral authority's plan for a partial recount.
Mr Mousavi wants a re-run of the vote, but said on Saturday that he would accept a review by an independent body.
However the Guardian Council has already backed President Ahmadinejad's re-election as a fair result.
On Friday it said the presidential election was the "healthiest" held since the Iranian revolution in 1979.
Which state security branch rules Tehran's streets?
Two weeks after the contested results of Iran's Presidential elections led to widespread street riots and demonstrations across the country, the Islamic Republic pronounced its harshest threat yet to protesters. At the official ceremony for Friday prayers, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a hard-line cleric who often delivers the sermon, said those who agitate on the streets were "waging war against God," a crime that carries the death sentence.
The government also began a propaganda campaign aimed at shifting responsibility for the violence meted out by the state onto foreign powers and the protesters themselves. State television aired a program in which witnesses and experts all agreed that Neda Agha-Soltan — the 27-year-old bystander whose death was captured on YouTube, sparking sympathy worldwide and turning Neda into a martyr — was shot by foreign agents in order to intensify people's rage. State television also broadcast another program mourning the purported deaths of eight Basijis killed by bullet wounds.