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Naghdi, Mr. Mohammad Reza [Army]

On Sunday Oct. 4, 2009 the Islamic Republic supreme leader issued a decree appointing Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi as commander of the Basij.

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi was born in the city of Najaf in Iraq and moved to Iran following the revolution, joining the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Naghdi first entered the national stage for his role in the trial of Tehran's powerful former mayor, Gholamhossein Karbaschi. As part of that trial, Naghdi arrested a number of the mayor's deputies and subjected them to torture and long spells in solitary confinement.

One of Karbaschi's deputies wrote a letter to the fifth Majlis lawmakers following his release detailing Mohammd Reza Naghdis role in the torture and interrogation of detainees at the infamous Vesaal detention facility.

Mohammad Reza Naghdi was also a key player in organizing and financing the Ansar Hezbollah and other plain-clothed militia, and played a role in the Ansar's attack on the Tehran University dormitories in the bloody crackdown of the 1999 student uprising.

In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Naghdi to head the Committee to Combat Drug and Currency Smuggling. One week later, however, Ahmadinejad dismissed Naghdi after he accused one of Ahmadinejad's prominent campaign donors, Seyyed Rostam Aghakhan, of running a smuggling operation.

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