Iran’s Guard Deploys ‘Strike Teams’ in Tehran, to Patrol South

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it has formed paramilitary “strike teams” in districts of Tehran and plans patrols to ensure security in the southern oil-rich province of Khuzestan, without giving a reason for the deployments.

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Yazdi, who commands IRGC forces in Tehran province, said members of a plain-clothed religious militia known as the Basij were ready to “tackle thugs and disrupters of security” in the capital, state-run Hamshahri newspaper reported on Tuesday.

While there have been no recent reports of unrest in the capital, an outpouring of anger on social media has followed the internationally condemned weekend execution of a champion wrestler who had been accused of murder.

Separately, the Guard said it was prepared to “activate patrols” in Khuzestan after a rise in reports of “theft and insecurity” in cities such as Ahvaz, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.

The statement comes days ahead of the anniversary of a 2018 attack on a military parade in Ahvaz that killed 25 people, claimed by both Islamic State militants and an Arab separatist group. Officials have canceled the annual defense parades this year because of the coronavirus.

Protests by industrial workers over unpaid wages and corruption are frequent throughout Khuzestan and often lead to the detention of union leaders and rights activists.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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