Iran Warns Protesters They Risk Kidnapping by Israel

Nearly six months after contested presidential elections sparked widespread violent anti-government demonstrations, Iran's security forces are warning citizens that political protesters are in danger of being kidnapped — by Israel.

Numerous sources in Tehran have told NewsCore that the Revolutionary Guard shock troops known as basiji are spreading the word that Israeli agents are operating within Tehran as a method of frightening potential protesters and keeping them off the streets.

Tens of thousands of Iranians staged public and often violent demonstrations to protest the results of the June elections, in which incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of a second term despite evidence of widespread fraud. Supporters of Mir Hussein Mousavi, the challenger in the elections, contended that the country's hardline Islamic rulers ignored evidence of irregularities in the voting.

“Families in our neighborhood have been warned that if you go out during the protest...among the enemies of the regime...there might be a chance that Israelis might take you," an elderly man who resides in an impoverished part of Tehran said by telephone last week.

“The young basijis who live nearby will sometimes walk around our neighborhood and deliver written letters that keep us updated…and aside from what we are hearing today, this is what a lot of us have experienced, for 30 years we have read about this in our home.”

Earlier this month, Iranian state media broadcast reports that concluded that a former Iranian deputy defense minister had been abducted by Israel in 2006.

Ali Reza Asgari, a retired general who served in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, disappeared while on a private trip to Turkey in December 2006. A former German Defense Ministry official said last March that Asgari had defected and was providing considerable information to the West on Iran's nuclear program.Iranian officials and Asgari's family rejected the notion of a defection and insisted that he had been abducted.

Iranian state media reports said Asgari “was kidnapped with the help of Mossad and the German and British intelligence agencies and eventually taken to Israel.”

Another resident of Tehran, a woman who makes her living by going to graveyards to pray for clients' dead relatives said: “The people in my neighborhood are saying that when they speak to their relatives and friends in the paramilitary, they say that we should be careful…and be loyal to our country because countries like Israel, America, and England are trying to destroy our country and unity.”

A man whose nephew works for the Sepah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said: “My nephew told me that there are foreigners on our soil and that Israel has spies here. My nephew also told me that Israel was waiting for a time like this to strike and told me to spread this information around, so that others should know what our government is up against.”

A 50-year-old taxi driver in the capital added: "We are all starving, we thought that he (Ahmadinejad) would help us...I know some people who didn't vote for Mr. Mousavi, but were out in the streets because they are worried that things will get so bad that we won't be able to feed their children. Things have calmed down since what they are telling us is that the regime needs to spend all of its money and focus on the internal enemies and for the good the nation we must remain quiet until this is resolved."

Reported and distributed by NewsCore