Mohammad Reza Naqdi
|Mohammad Reza Naqdi|
11 February 1949 |
|Years of service||1981 –|
|Commands held||Commander of the Basij|
Mohammad Reza Naqdi, (correctly Mohammad Reza Naqadi as his family was living in Naqadeh city after deportation from Iraq), is the commander of the Basij paramilitary force of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Earlier in his career Naqdi served as the Iranian Police Force's Counter-Intelligence Chief  and is also reported to have been involved in "crackdowns" during the 1997-2005 administration of Khatami including the 1999 student protests. Amnesty International reported that in March 1999 Iranian authorities announced that General Naqdi, chief of police intelligence at the time, to be tried in May by a military court along with 10 of his subordinates. "The charges against them are believed to include `unlawful arrest` and `using torture to elicit confessions'." He was found not guilty.
Naqdi was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as commander of the Basij in October 2009, replacing Hossein Taeb. He has been described as possessing "conservative credentials" and his appointment was said (by Mohsen Sazegara) to have "shattered the hopes and plans of those who thought they could ease" the unrest and protest following the reelection of President Ahmadinejad.
On 14 February 2011 Naqdi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying he believed the February protests in Iran had been started by "western spies" and that "western intelligence agencies are searching for a mentally challenged person who can set himself on fire in Tehran to trigger developments like those in Egypt and Tunisia." Naqdi was also quoted as saying the basij were "ready to sacrifice their lives" to defend the Islamic regime, and likened the opposition to the "party of Satan."
Two weeks later on 23 February 2011, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on General Naqdi, "for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Iran", adding him to the Office of Foreign Assets Control blacklist. The action subjects him "to visa sanctions" and "seeks to block any assets" he may have under U.S. jurisdiction, and "bans U.S. citizens from financial transactions with them".
In an interview which aired on Al Manar TV on 28 May 2012 (as translated by MEMRI), Naqdi dismissed the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran, stated that "Israel is much too small to carry out [an attack]. The [Israeli] statements serve only to amuse the terrified tyrants, who say: “We are here.” If Israel commits even the slightest mistake or the slightest act of stupidity, it will be the last stupid mistake in its life. Any stupid military act that Israel carries out will be the last stupid act in the history of Israel. Israel is not capable of harming Iran. We consider this laughable."
In an interview which aired on Al Manar TV on 16 September 2012 (as translated by MEMRI), Naqdi stated that if Israel attacks Iran "all options will be open to the Iranian people. The liberation of Jerusalem has been on the minds of the Iranians for many years, and they are just waiting for the right moment. I say to the Zionists that any attack on Iran will not culminate in anything less than the liberation of Jerusalem."
- Journalism in Iran: from mission to profession, Hossein Shahidi, 2007, page 88
- Iran Military Moves Could Provide Greater Muscle Against Critics, RFERL 8 October 2009 Golnaz Esfandiari
- Selected events in the Middle East and North Africa from January to June 1999, Annual report updates, AI Index: POL 10/05/99
- "The Commander of the Basij". The Majalla. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- quote from "Mohsen Sazagara, an exiled cofounder of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who has since fallen out of favor with Iran's political leadership." RFERL 8 October 2009
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (14 February 2011). "Iran protests see reinvigorated activists take to the streets in thousands". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- Thousands demonstrate in Iran despite ban, Jay Deshmukh (AFP) 14 February 2011
- Departments of the Treasury and State Announce Designations for Human Rights Abuses in Iran, state.gov, 23 February 2011
- U.S. Hits Iranian Officials With Sanctions Over Rights Abuses
- Iranian Basij Commander General Mohammad Reza Naqdi: If Israel Attacks Iran, It Will Be the "Last Stupid Act in Its History", MEMRITV, Clip No. 3458 (transcript), 28 May 2012.
- Iranian Basij Commander General Mohammad Reza Naqdi: An Israeli Attack on Iran Will Culminate in the Liberation of Jerusalem, MEMRI, Clip No. 3581 (transcript), 16 September 2012.
|Commander of Basij
2009 – present