Million Dollar Confessions
Shervin Omidar, Rooz Online:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's ultra-conservative president has appointed Mohammad Reza Naghdi, former intelligence commander of police forces as head of the committee to fight the smuggling of foreign exchange and other goods into the country. Political observers see this appointment as relegating the country’s economy to security-intelligence circles. They also believe that the appointment will continue to hide the smuggling of good into the country through the illegal ports in the south, thus ending any efforts to stop the activities of these ports.
Naghdi believes in violent and security approaches to the critics of the Islamic Revolution. He is one of the founders of the shadow intelligence agencies during the early years of Khatami's government. President Ahmadinejad has praised his record and has asked him to take his duties and act on the principles of justice, tolerance and precision.
Naghdi is the leading figure behind the attacks on students on the July of 2000 and he was among the very first officials who waged a security and military was against reform minded groups. He had once said that he can earn millions of dollars by the confessions of those that criticize or oppose the Islamic Republic.
There is strong evidence that he has been the main player in drawing fake confessions from Tehran's former mayors who have been accused of financial corruption. It is also said that their confessions of corruption were derived under duress.
Observers believe that Ahmadinejad's support for Naghdi is a green light to what he had planned seven years ago. In a letter, Naghdi had suggested then that the country would be cleared out of reformers if 100 of them were shot overnight. READ MORE
His record in different military and intelligence operations indicates the dangerous role he is capable of playing in extremist radical movements. From Iraq to Lebanon, he has been active in high profile positions and has strong supporters within the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Naghdi's activities during Ahmadinejad's presidential election campaign were a signal that after two years of silence he has come back to Iran's political scene. Naghdi's speeches compliment his strong will to focus on capitalism.
Political observers believe that more than 70% of Iran's imports come into the country through the invisible and illegal ports which are under the control of former military-security officials who have been the greatest supporters of Ahmadinejad. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Ahmadinejad's election rival and former head of the committee to combat smuggled goods has also stressed this reality. Observers have expressed the possibility that Naghdi's appointment may be precisely to hide such activities or that he may become a competitor for the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps mafia.