Saeid Golkar is a senior fellow at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Service at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His research focuses on international and comparative politics of authoritarian regimes, with an emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa. He is the author of “Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran” (2015).
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The bloody crackdowns at universities across Iran are not being led by the usual suspects — the police, the IRGC or its Basij militia. Rather, the brutal repression is being driven by a shadowy paramilitary group almost unknown beyond Iran’s borders.