Iran: Suppressive paramilitary Bassij gets record financial boost

In recent months, the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has focused heavily on funding the Iranian regime’s suppressive forces, boosting their budget up to 50 percent, according to the latest reports.

The commander of one of these forces, the paramilitary Bassij Force, recently boasted that the budget for various components under his command have jumped anywhere between 2 to 7 times.

The Iranian regime has allocated $14.7 billion dollars to its suppressive and armed forces this year compared to $11.2 billion last year. The regime’s official statistics indicate that the Ministry of Defense has grabbed 50% of the recent increase. The budget for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been hit with various international sanctions for stewarding the regime’s nuclear weapons program, has reached $5.8 billion from $4.8 billion last year.

The paramilitary Bassij Force is a component of the IRGC as is the extraterritorial Qods Force. The majority of the regime’s deputies in Majlis (Parliament) have paid special attention to the Bassij, working in unison with Ahmadinejad to increase its financial resources.

In a meeting with Bassij commanders, the paramilitary force’s chief, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, recently noted that the number of Bassij bases has increased with the help of financial credits for the projects that have been obtained “with the cooperation of Majlis deputies.”

On Thursday, the state-run Fars news agency, quoted Naqdi as saying, “This year there has been an unimaginable move to increase Bassij bases throughout the country, which is unparalleled compared to previous years.” The number of the new bases in 2010 has reached 7,000.

In addition to the injection of state-controlled funds, the paramilitary Bassij Force is also supplied with funds from other sources. The force’s commander, Naqdi, said on May 5 that, “One should not forget that the state budget is limited and we must not be content on relying on that source alone.”

The paramilitary Bassij had a major role in suppressing anti-regime protests in 2009, murdering demonstrators on the streets or arresting and torturing them in prison. The budgetary increase for this suppressive force reveals the clerical regime’s persistent fears over the continuation of the deepening and extensive anti-regime protests.

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