Basij Day in Iran Date in the current year: November 26, 2024

Basij Day in Iran Basij Day is an Iranian observance celebrated on 5 Azar according to the Solar Hijri calendar, which corresponds to November 26 in the Gregorian calendar. It honors a paramilitary volunteer militia, which is one of the five forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, established a volunteer militia by his degree signed on November 26, 1979. Although the Basij was formally founded on April 30, 1980, it is November 26 that is treated as its foundation anniversary.

The organization was open to everyone between the ages of 18 and 45, both men and women. However, during the Iran-Iraq War Basij volunteers included people of various ages, such as children as young as 12 and old men, some of whom were already in their eighties.

During the war, the organization became infamous for its employment of human wave attacks, in which thousands of Basij volunteers assaulted the enemy in densely concentrated formations, wave by wave. The volunteers were poorly armed and unsupported by air power or artillery, which resulted in tens of thousands of casualties. Nevertheless, the tactic proved effective against poorly trained Iraqi soldiers.

After the war, the Basij lost a fair share of members because the atmosphere of patriotism began to subside. The restoration of the Basij began in the late 1990s or early 2000s, when the Iranian government experienced a shortage of manpower for suppressing student protests. The Basij participated in calming down the 2009 Iranian presidential election protest and fought in the Syrian Civil War, supporting the Syrian government.

In addition to its auxiliary military, internal security and law enforcement duties, the Basij enforces state control over society, provides social services, polices morals, suppresses dissident gatherings, organizes public religious ceremonies, and combats drug trafficking in border regions.

Today, a lot of young people join the Basij not because of their patriotism or religious convictions, but due to the benefits it offers, such as a stipend, exemption from the obligatory military service, reserved spots in universities, and higher changes to get a job or promotion in the government sector.

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