Thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen deployed for crackdown on opposition
Wednesday afternoon, June 17, armored convoys of Revolutionary Guard forces began rolling into Tehran from three directions to prevent supporters of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi assembling on the fifth day after the disputed presidential election, debkafile‘s Iranian sources report.
Special IRGC forces and police units are being flown in. Hundreds of opposition activities have been arrested, including some economic experts who criticized president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies in recent months, after three reformist politicians, including a former Vice President and adviser to former president Mohammed Khatami, were detained Tuesday.
Nonetheless, a number of demonstrators did turn out Wednesday afternoon and Mousavi defied supreme ruler Ayatollah Khamenei’s demand for the defeated presidential challengers to refrain from stirring up more tension, by calling on his website for supporters to gather Thursday to silently and peacefully commemorate their fellows shot by security forces Monday night and protest the rigged election.
Because security forces are expected to block 7th Tir Square, the opposition leader advised his followers to assemble in mosques as well as the streets in mark of solidarity with the victims.
Ahead of a showdown, the authorities have imposed tough new restrictions on foreign press coverage and attempted to block text messaging and the Internet albeit with partial success.