The pro-government Basij militia has held back its full fury during this week’s street demonstrations. But witnesses say the force has unleashed its violence in shadowy nighttime raids, attacking suspected opposition sympathizers with axes, daggers, sticks and other crude weapons.
At least once, the militiamen opened fire on a crowd of strone-throwing protesters. State media said seven were killed.
If supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei authorizes a crackdown on protesters calling for a new presidential election, as he warned on Friday, the Basij will almost certainly be out in force.