As protest movements continue to roil regimes throughout the Middle East, the Iranian government is trying to create an atmosphere of fear and terror, explained Karim Sadjadpour to PRI's The World. Members of Iran’s parliament have called for the execution of reformers who were once leaders in the government, like Mohammed Khatami, who was president of the Islamic Republic for eight years. Sadjadpour said that such calls demonstrate the severe rightward shift of the political establishment in Iran.
The regime is able to continue to repress demonstrators because international media are not allowed in the country, Sadjadpour added. “This has an enormous psychological impact on the protesters because it makes them think the regime can get away with its harsh measures,” he said. Although social networks function as a mechanism to mobilize and organization the opposition, Sadjadpour warned that, at least in the short term, they are unable to match the tools available to hardcore supporters of the regime such as the Basij and the Revolutionary Guard, who are willing to kill for the regime.