Iran recruiting up to a million police to cope with mounting unrest
Iran is planning a major expansion of its police forces to contain demonstrations in the capital by students and workers that authorities fear the U.S. is backing. Officials said the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to significantly increase the police force in Teheran. The police presence would be bolstered by up to 1 million volunteers.
Teheran police commander Morteza Tala'i said Iran plans to construct as many as 100 police stations in the city in 2007. He said thousands of police would be recruited into the force to ensure order.
Over the past year, Teheran has struggled with increasing student and labor unrest. Authorities have been concerned that the United States would finance Iranian dissidents to undermine the mullah regime.
Tala'i also said authorities would expand their auxiliary forces. The police commander said 1 million people would be trained to become "honorary policemen."
After five years in his post, Tala'i is to be replaced by Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan. Radan served as commander during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.