Mohammadreza Naghdi

The head of Iran’s Basij militia has described the latest mass protests against the Islamic Republic government as “a deep sedition” and warns that future seditions will be more difficult to recognize.

The Iranian establishment uses the word “sedition” when referring to the protests that erupted in 2009 following allegations of fraud in the presidential elections.

Commander Naghdi said: “In the sedition of 2009, we faced people who blatantly broke their fast on Qods Day, prayed with their shoes on and danced and partied during times of mourning; therefore, identifying them was not difficult.”

“In the coming seditions, the situation will be more hazy, and recognizing the righteous from the evil will be much harder;” the leader of the Basij maintained.

He said the Islamic Republic may have to face a rising enemy in the “name of the Qoran and prayer as well as apparent love for justice.” Overcoming such an enemy, he said, will mean practising piety and obeying the leadership.

In Iran’s post-election crackdown on protesters, dozens of people were killed and a wide array of political, student, women’s rights and human rights activists as well as journalists were arrested. According to numerous reports, many detainees were subjected to abuse and torture.

Last March, Commander Naghdi was targeted by U.S. sanctions for his role in violating human rights in the post-election period. Eight Islamic Republic officials including Revolutionary Guards commanders and cabinet ministers are under U.S. sanctions for similar violations.

More recently the European Union froze the assets of 32 Iranian officials and banned them from travelling to EU countries because of their human rights violations.

Commander Naghdi’s statements come at a time when tensions have intensified between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration and conservative members of the parliament and the establishment.