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A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran

Mostafa Mohammad Najjar

Born: 1956

Hometown: Tehran

Position: Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior

“After Ashura, anyone who takes part in riots will be considered as muharib [waging war on God] and an opponent of national security.”




Mostafa Mohammad Najjar reportedly joined the Revolutionary Guards in 1979 and took part in quelling Kurdish unrest in 1979 and 1980. Najjar became head of the Middle East directorate in 1982, overseeing forces in Lebanon. He has also overseen defense-manufacturing companies, and has been linked by the European Union to the proliferation of nuclear technologies.

According to a leaked memo, Najjar estimated the number of protesters following the June 12, 2009 election at 350,000. On November 10, 2009, Supreme Leader Khamenei appointed Najjar Deputy Commander of Armed Forces in charge of Police Forces in order to “ensure order and security.” He was in charge of the government response to protests on Ashura, the holiest day of the year for Shi’a Islam. State media reported 37 dead, and hundreds arrested.

On January 3, 2010, Najjar told reporters “the rioters are encouraged and supported by Britain, the US and the Zionist regime [Israel]. The involvement of the Mojahedin-i Khalq Organization (MKO), enemies and those who seek to take revenge on the Islamic establishment during the past 30 years is quite clear.”

On May 4, 2010, the representative for the largely Kurdish district of Sanandaj in the Majlis, Amin Shaabani, announced that he was collecting signatures to impeach Najjar. He stated that “the militarization of the Interior Ministry, the appointment of military men to key posts, disorder in the councils and not considering competence in appointing managers are among the reasons for Najjar’s impeachment.”

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Reports, Right to Protest, Imprisonment