A top Iranian general said government troops are "ready to sacrifice our lives" rather than back down in the face of protests over June’s disputed presidential election.
Gen. Sayyed Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of Iran’s Joint Armed Forces, said Iranian soldiers were willing to die as they did in the brutal eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, according to the state-run Fars News Agency. “Some may think that by protesting and chanting their slogans against us, we will back down, retreat and give up,” Firouzabadi said. “We are ready to sacrifice our lives, as we showed during the time of the Sacred Defense [the Iran-Iraq war].” The government has cracked down on Iranians who protested the outcome of the June 12 election in which hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner over his chief rival, reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi. Moussavi called the vote fraudulent and his supporters took to the streets by the thousands, sparking clashes between demonstrators and government troops, and members of a pro-government paramilitary force. “The military uniform, in the system of the Islamic Republic, which is the system of the holy Quran, is the uniform of the Prophet’s faithful, Firouzabadi said. “It is the uniform of service to the supreme leadership and the people.” Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Azizollah Rajabzadeh, Tehran’s police chief, announced the creation of a 50,000-strong constable-like force called the “honorary police officers” that will assist police units, state-run Press TV reported. Rajabzadeh said the honorary police force could eventually expand to 300,000 nationwide.