"Since Ahmadinejad became president, the influence of the Basiji has grown. In November, the new Iranian president opened the annual "Basiji Week," which commemorates the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War. According to a report in Kayan, a publication loyal to Khameini, some nine million Basiji–12 percent of the Iranian population–turned out to demonstrate in favor of Ahmadinejad’s anti-liberal platform. The article claimed that the demonstrators "form[ed] a human chain some 8,700 kilometers long. … In Tehran alone, some 1,250,000 people turned out." Barely noticed by the Western media, this mobilization attests to Ahmadinejad’s determination to impose his "second revolution" and to extinguish the few sparks of freedom in Iran.
At the end of July 2005, the Basij movement announced plans to increase its membership from ten million to 15 million by 2010. The elite special units are supposed to comprise some 150,000 people by then. Accordingly, the Basiji have received new powers in their function as an unofficial division of the police. What this means in practice became clear in February 2006, when the Basiji attacked the leader of the bus-drivers’ union, Massoud Osanlou. They held Osanlou prisoner in his apartment, and they cut off the tip of his tongue in order to convince him to keep quiet. No Basiji needs to fear prosecution for such terrorists tactics before a court of law. " Matthias Kuntzel
Kuntzel does not have the role of the Basiij in the Iran-Iraq War quite right. They were as described but they were usually used as "fillers" in IRGC "Divisions." These "Divisions" were only about five or six thousand in strength. The IRGC lost a lot of men in the early part of the war in fighting the Iraqis around Khoramshar and other places and because of that the decision was made to have these "divisions" be made up of IRGC cadres leading and controlling Basiij "infantry" companies. In that way, a typical IRGC "Division" was probably 20% IRGC and 80% Basiij.
These units did not have artillery, armor or engineer support troops and relied almost exclusively on the actual Iranian Army for these support services. Kuntzel does not mention the Iranian Army, but they continued to exist. This was the old Imperial Army. They fought well and actually progressed in skill during the war. Their officers had been trained in US and British service schools, The infantry at Ft. Benning, The artillery at Ft. Sill, the armor at Ft. Knox, etc.
The Iraqis were a lost more impressed with the Iranian Army than with the IRGC. They said that the IRGC/Basiij were only dangerous if you ran out of ammunition. If that happened then, they said, the IRGC/Basiij would simply flow over you like a Tsunami. On the other hand the Iranian Army often outfought the Iraqis, using their artillery, armor and engineers with a skill that the Iraqis could not match.
This article is a portent. It says that the Basiij/IRGC faction of the revolutionary establishment is now running Iran and prospering. Those people seek death. They always did.