Retired Revolutionary Guard officers were deployed to suppress protesters in Iran during anti-regime demonstrations, IRGC commander Hossein Salami said on Thursday.
Addressing retired officers during a gathering in Tehran Salami said that the IRGC “organized” retired officers and “deployed” them to the “battlefield” during the Women, Life, Freedom movement. The protests broke out after a 22-year-old woman was killed in the custody of Iran’s notorious hijab police in September last year.
Salami, calling the protests “riots” according to the Iranian regime’s terminology told retired officers, “Even now, you are in the battlefield…and when there are riots, you are present, you show up, get organized and go [to confront the protests].
The Islamic Republic deployed the regular police, riot police, IRGC forces and plainclothes agents in tens of thousands across the country to suppress the protests. They were armed with military weapons, shotguns, clubs and knives. More than 540 civilians were killed by these forces and 22,000 arrested in five months. Scores of you people lost one or both eyes when agents fired at their faces with shotgun ‘birdshots’.
Salami emphasized that retired IRGC officers have always been present in the past in suppressing protests. However, during the protests, Salami had threatened young demonstrators that the regime will “come after them” with its young supporters.
According to past statements by other IRGC commanders, during the 2009 protests to a fraudulent presidential election, thousands of criminals were freed from prisons and ordered to attack demonstrators.