In a conference on Monday, Tehran’s Social Deputy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced the formation of 300 groups of religious patrols.
According to the state-run IRNA News Agency, Tehran’s IRGC Social Deputy Vahid Amirian said each member of the new “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong” groups will give 12 verbal warnings a day.
Enjoining good and forbidding wrong is an Islamic concept used by the Iranian regime to crack down on civil liberties, including how civilians dress and act in public.
Amirian told the IRGC conference in Tehran that “the groups have approval to start their activities” adding that they had full legal and judicial support.
The IRGC Social Deputy also warned that anyone who insults the religious groups would be dealt with by the police and judicial authorities.
Hassan Hassanzadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Rasoul Allah Base, who was also in the conference also warned that “if anyone takes any steps to weaken the regime, it will be considered a vice”.
Hassanzadeh also said he wanted the religious patrols to go further than cracking down on civil liberties, adding that the IRGC and others should “not be limited to specific issues”.
Before this, in October 2020, a judicial branch in northern Iran was established to support regime affiliated vigilante groups tasked with giving notices to civilians who do not conform to the regime’s “moral” laws. The Gilan Head of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong Headquarters, Sajad Sarfaraz said the groups, made up of Basij forces, would be “supported by the judiciary.”
Sarfaraz said “the community can move towards perfection with the enjoining good and forbidding wrong groups, and this should be carried out in cyberspace as well”.
On October 19, 2020, the Tehran Chief of Police, Hossein Rahimi, also emphasized that the main aspect of an Islamic state was “enjoining good and forbidding wrong”. Rahimi compared civilians who were practicing their civil liberties to “criminals, smugglers and embezzlers” and said the police would “deal decisively” with those who were looking to “spread the wanton culture of the West”.
The establishment of an “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong” branch in the judiciary will make it easier for the regime to curb civil liberties.
The IRGC is responsible for the regime’s regional terrorist operations and suppressing dissent at home, especially through its paramilitary branch, the Bassij.
Iran’s security forces, especially the IRGC and the Bassij carried out a brutal crackdown, killing at least 1,000 protesters and innocent bystanders including more than 20 children in the course of just a few days. At least 12,000 protesters were arrested with several reports of deaths under torture. Reports indicate that the IRGC command gave its agents cold coins to thank them for the brutal crackdown.