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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

IU expert on Iran receiving reports from within the country, available for interviews

June 17, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As hundreds of thousands of demonstrators continue to take to the streets of Tehran, an Indiana University professor who has traveled throughout Iran continues to get reports from colleagues within the country, who indicate that Arabic-speaking militias are arriving in the country.

Jamsheed Choksy

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

Jamsheed Choksy

Print-Quality Photo

Jamsheed Choksy, IU professor of Central Eurasian Studies, history, ancient studies and India studies and an adjunct professor in religious studies, is available to discuss this and other developments. He can be reached at 812-855-8643 or He also is available via mobile phone -- contact George Vlahakis or Steve Hinnefeld at 812-855-3911 for that phone number.

"We are hearing reports from Iranians in Tehran, Shiraz and Esfahan that Arabic-speaking militias are arriving," Choksy said. "The vast majority of Iranians cannot speak any Arabic. It's very likely those Arab militia members are from Hezbollah and/or Hamas. Similar reports were consistently present during and right after the Islamic revolution of 1979, when Arab militants reinforced Iranian religious extremists after the revolution to ensure that no counter-revolts could occur.

"Splits are emerging among the mullahs and even within the revolutionary guard, with many in those ranks also beginning to oppose the election results and the regime's attempt to force itself upon the people. The arrival of Arab militants today suggests that Iranian Muslim fundamentalists are drawing upon the support of foreign fighters to suppress rising national democratic sentiment.

"It appears that the theocracy is trying to make sure it has on-ground power even if the police and military go over to the reformist side. It is likely that Iran's government intends to disconnect the country from the world, then quash internal opposition brutally."

Choksy offered additional comments in an advisory that was issued Monday (June 15) that is available online at