Farnaz Fassihi of The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating profile of a rank-and-file member of the Iranian Basij, a true believer in the Islamic Revolution.
On the one hand, it appears the Basij’s willingness to exercise sheer brutal force against anti-regime protesters has probably done more than anything else to keep the current government in power– for now.
On the other hand, there’s this:
For Mr. Moradani, the biggest shock during the election turmoil came in his personal life. He had recently gotten engaged to a young woman from a devout, conservative family. A week into the protests, he says, his fiancée called him with an ultimatum. If he didn’t leave the Basij and stop supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad, he recalls her saying, she wouldn’t marry him.
He told her that was impossible. “I suffered a real emotional blow,” he says. “She said to me, ‘Go beat other people’s children then,’ and ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with you,’ and hung up on me.”
She returned the ring he gave her, and hasn’t returned his phone calls. “The opposition has even fooled my fiancée,” he says.
(Hat tip: The Stash)