an iron fist

an iron fist

or

an iron hand

COMMON If you do something with an iron fist or an iron hand, you do it with great force and strength. The Generals have ruled the nation with an iron fist for more than half of its independent existence. Peace was enforced with an iron hand in the conquered territories. Note: You can also talk about the iron fist of or the the iron hand of something. The symbol of their rule was not so much the iron fist of repression as the empty shelves of a failing economy.
See also: fist, iron

an iron ˈfist/ˈhand (in a velvet ˈglove)

harsh treatment of somebody that is hidden behind a gentle manner: The president ruled his country by using an iron fist in a velvet glove.
See also: fist, hand, iron
References in periodicals archive ?
Once the President proves their involvement, they will be treated with an iron fist," Andanar said in an interview with radio stationdzRB on Saturday.
He is an Iron Fist that has not completely turned his back from his past, with his desires for vindication and belonging as distractions from his duty.
The truth is the assertive McDonnell, an iron fist wearing a newly woven velvet glove, would make a better leader than laid-back Corbyn.
NNA - AL SHARQ AL AWSAT: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques: We will hit with an iron fist anyone who targets our youth He felicitated Muslims on Eid Fitr and confirmed Saudi community works with the state in combating deviant dogmas AL BALAD: Lebanon celebrates Fitr today and condemns Saudi explosions AL ANWAR: UN: Attack on Medina is an attack on Islam AL JOUMHORIYAH: After the Eid.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorism cannot be solved through politics, it should rather be hit with an iron fist, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a rare speech on Syrian state television.
I wish to advise all ministries, especially the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry, to implement laws with an iron fist - otherwise don't introduce laws in the first place.
There can be no let-up for terrorism - it must be hit with an iron fist.
Summary: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to strike "terrorists" with an iron fist.
We will strike back with an iron fist at anyone tempted to tamper with the security of the country or its citizens,"he said.
He was a Fascist dictator, who ruled with an iron fist.
Gunn is a violent thug who needs to be ruled with an iron fist.
The Baath gang of Saddam has one day to leave the province or we will use an iron fist against those who have failed to distance themselves from the Baath and al-Qaeda," the officials said in a statement.
FORMER Chinese badminton star Yvette Yun Luo has warned her new charges in Scotland she will rule with an iron fist.
The junta, steered by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power on 23 December last after the death of former "general president" Lansana Conte, who led the country with an iron fist between 1984 and 2008.
The first few times you might approach it with an iron fist, but now you just have to keep positive.