Iran's most powerful security force threatened Monday to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election, warning demonstrators to prepare for a "revolutionary confrontation" if they take to the streets again. It was the sternest warning yet from the elite Revolutionary Guard.
The country's highest electoral authority, the Guardian Council, acknowledged voting irregularities in 50 electoral districts in the June 12 vote, the most serious official admission so far of problems in the election that the opposition has labeled a fraud.
But the council insisted the problems do not affect the outcome of the vote. The electoral council said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by a landslide.
The Revolutionary Guard, in a statement posted on its website, warned protesters to "be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the Guards, Basij and other security forces and disciplinary forces" if they continue their near-daily rallies.
The Basij, a plainclothes militia under the command of the Revolutionary Guard, have been used to quell streets protests that erupted after the election result was announced. At least 17 protesters have been killed, according to an official Iranian toll.
The Guard statement ordered demonstrators to "end the sabotage and rioting activities" and said their resistance is a "conspiracy" against Iran.