Iran’s supreme leader Saturday told shadowy pro-government militias not to interfere in the nation’s postelection unrest even as the head of the notorious Basiji militia warned that his forces would “jump into the fray” if authorities didn’t act strongly against the opposition movement.
In his first public comments since protests last month that coincided with a major religious holiday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a rare attempt to ease tensions. Two days after gunmen with suspected ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard allegedly opened fire on the car of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, Khamenei urged all to abide by the law.
“Relevant bodies should fully respect the law in dealing with the riots and the ongoing events,” he told clerics and seminary students bused to Tehran from the shrine city of Qom for an annual political commemoration.
“Those without any legal duty and obligations should not meddle with these affairs,” he said. “Everyone should hold back from arbitrary acts and everything should go within the framework of the law.”