Iran General NewsMilitia Chief Chosen to Lead Iranian Police

Militia Chief Chosen to Lead Iranian Police

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New York Times: Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday appointed the commander of a conservative militia as the new chief of the national police force, the Iranian Student News Agency reported. The new chief, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, 44, will replace Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf, who resigned to run for president in last month’s election. New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI

TEHRAN – Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday appointed the commander of a conservative militia as the new chief of the national police force, the Iranian Student News Agency reported.

The new chief, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, 44, will replace Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf, who resigned to run for president in last month’s election.

General Ahmadi Moghadam is the commander in Tehran of the Basij, a conservative volunteer militia that is a branch of the Revolutionary Guards and that has taken part in a crackdown against pro-democracy protests. He is also a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards. The Basij, whose members supported Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the conservative candidate who won the presidency, uses the vast network of mosques around the country as its organizational base.

Two other presidential candidates, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mehdi Karroubi, accused the Revolutionary Guards and Basij of using their influence to press Iranians to vote for Mr. Ahmadinejad.

In a letter on Sunday, Mr. Karroubi urged the departing president, Mohammad Khatami, to disclose what he called “election irregularities” to the public. Mr. Khatami has said he will give the judiciary a file about accusations of irregularities.

Ayatollah Khamenei said in his order appointing General Ahmadi Moghadam that he was being chosen because of his “revolutionary record and his past services in military and security positions,” the student news agency reported.

The general in the eight-year war with Iraq that ended in 1988. Political analysts had warned that the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad could bring a wave of repression against political and social freedoms allowed since the election of Mr. Khatami, a reformist, in 1997. Conservatives control Iran’s judiciary, and they gained control of Parliament after a conservative monitoring body barred reformist politicians from running in the last election.

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