By Ladane Nasseri and Ali Sheikholeslami
June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the security forces will crush further protests over the disputed presidential vote, as the country’s elections supervisory body acknowledged some balloting discrepancies.
“The saboteurs must stop their actions” or face “the decisive and revolutionary action of the children of the nation in the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and other security and military forces, to put an end to the chaos,” the state-run Mehr news agency cited the Revolutionary Guards as saying today in a statement.
Police attacked hundreds of protesters with tear gas and fired shots into the air as they broke up a rally in central Tehran’s Haft-e-Tir square shortly after the Guards’ warning, the Associated Press said.
The 125,000-strong Guards, tasked by Iran’s clerical rulers with protecting the Islamic Revolution, have their own ground, air and sea forces. Club-wielding members of the Basij volunteer militia, which is linked to the Guards, have played a role in suppressing the protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June 12 victory. Opponents say the ballot was rigged.
“This shows that it is very serious and can destabilize the regime,” Yossi Mekelberg, director of international relations at Regent’s College, London, said in an interview. Without the Guards’ intervention, the protests won’t stop, he said.
Security forces deployed in Tehran to prevent further demonstrations after hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets during more than a week of rallies that saw at least 17 people killed, according to the government. Police arrested as many as 457 people during clashes in the city on June 20, state-run Press TV said.