Iran Assembles Militia For Muharram Mourning
Friday is the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. This year, the Iranian regime has prepared 6000 Basiji to control traditional Muharram ceremonies, out of fear that they will morph into anti-government protests.
The mourning of Muharram, which marks the anniversary of the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Muhammad, and 72 of his followers, is a particularly important time for Shia Muslims. Their grieving climaxes on the tenth day of the month with huge gatherings and mourning assemblies.
Radio Farda speaks with religion expert Ahmad Ghabel about the government's preparations:
"Preparing 6000 militia by the name of "police partners" for Muharram is just because the system is afraid of people and probable opposition stands... They want to have some official spies everywhere... Even before, there were some pressures and controls over these rituals and also so-called opposition ceremonies and some officials were present there, but it was never that obvious. This kind of approach is so new...This time I assume that again some officials will be just present at the ceremony, unless they have some official permission to disarrange the ceremony if some opposition movements start to appear."
MPs Criticize Iranian Government
Two reformist MPs, Nasrollah Torabi and Mohammad-raza Tabesh, are criticizing the present situation in Iran.
Nasrollah Torabi, who represents Shahr-e-kord, warned about arresting opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. "Putting them on trial means putting our Islamic revolution on trial," he said.
Torabi criticized the regime's behavior toward students on Student Day. Nothing can be solved with "political apartheid," he said. He also listed many other problems he sees Iran struggling with right now such as, "having 30 percent of the population under the poverty threshold, class gap, an increase in drug use, brain drain, and an international relations crisis."