Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Now even newborns can join the pro-government Basiji militia

December 13, 2010 | 11:56 am
Picture 7

Forget the Boy Scouts. As of Monday, newborns and children up to the age of 7 can sign up for the paramilitary Basiji organization, according to the Mehr news agency (Persian link).

Parents are invited to register their bouncing little baby boys and girls at the Basiji office in Tehran, where they can receive their membership cards.

The Basijis operate as additional police and security forces under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and were a key element in the violent crackdown on peaceful protests after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential elections.

The organization recently won approval from parliament to increase its membership to 30 million, of which 1.5 million should be "active" members.

 -- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Basiji forces display their might in an annual parade. Credit: Hamid Forootan / ISNA