TEHRAN (FNA)- Basij (volunteer) forces are to start patrolling streets in urban areas across Iran to try to help police curb security threats, a Basij commander said on Tuesday.
“Upon people’s request and due to the social circumstances, we will launch patrols in different neighborhoods and towns from May 23,” Basij commander of operations Ahmad Zolqadr said.
The decision comes after a deadly mosque blast in the southern city of Shiraz that killed 13 people and injured more than 200 in mid-April.
“The patrols will be carried from sunset to dawn by uniformed Basij members holding a special badge and warrant, accompanied by a policeman,” Zolqadr said.
“They are tasked with providing security for governmental, public and private buildings, countering thugs and overt crimes, but under no circumstances are they to enter households without a warrant,” he said.
Iran has arrested 15 people in connection with the Shiraz bombing, who were trained, led and financially supported by the United States and Britain.
“Such operations are aimed at creating insecurity in Iran but with the presence of Basji patrols they will get a decisive response,” vowed the commander, who also stressed US involvement in the Shiraz blast.
Basij is a volunteer force operating under the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and is tasked with defending the country against foreign and domestic threats.
According to official figures, Basij is 10-million-strong with male and female members in government bodies, schools and universities from all across the country. Basij volunteers played a decisive role in defending the country during the 1980-1988 Iraqi imposed war against Iran.