Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi was born in Najaf, Iraq in 1953. He and his family were expelled from Iraq during Saddam's mass purge of Iranians in 1980. Later, he enlisted in the Basij Expeditionary Force, saw action in Lebanon and was closely linked to Hezbollah. Upon returning to Iran, he became a member of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Revolution Council. (The term "Revolution" was later omitted in 2007.)
Around 1993, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei employed Naqdi as a rising intelligence officer for the IRGC Quds Force. Shortly thereafter, Naqdi was posted at the Intelligence office of Iran's security, to be subsequently assigned into a high ranking staff position as a Brigadier General at General Command Headquarters.
In 1999, during Khatami's presidency, Naqdi participated in a semi-coup against the freely elected reformist government. He was instrumental in arresting the mayor of Tehran, Gholamhossein Karbaschi, together with 164 top municipal employees. He was also involved in plotting assassination attempts against Abdullah Nouri (Interior Minister) and Mohajerani (Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance), and played a key role in coordinating a crackdown against a student uprising at Tehran University by members of Ansar Hezbollah, a plain-clothed militia that along with others, Naqdi played a key role in organizing and financing.
In 2000, Naqdi formed a political group called called the Band-e Kabir (Great Gang) to "prevent social corruption". Breaking Iranian law in the process, he faced charges of criminal activity in judicial proceedings and was sentenced to a 3 month prison term, which he never served. Naqdi is rumored to have been involved (together with Mohseni Ejei- Ahmadinejad's minister of Intelligence) with the suspicious death of the judge that handled the Tehran mayor's criminal case (the judge suffered cardiac arrest apparently due to air-injection).
It's interesting to note that the members of Band-e Kabir were charged with several felonies (including kidnapping, extortion, use of dangerous weapons and firearms, as well as abuse of governmental power) and were publicly prosecuted. However Naqdi, who is closely connected within the Supreme Leader's inner circle, was spared. In fact, instead of being prosecuted, he was promoted by President Ahmadinejad in 2005 and put in charge of a federal corruption probe, the "Committee to Combat Drug and Currency Smuggling". Responding to Naqdi's exposure of smuggling practices by one of President Ahmadinejad's major financial supporters, Naqdi was removed from his anti-corruption post, to be returned to a staff position in the Iranian armed forces by the Supreme Leader.
On Sunday, October 4th, Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Naqdi as Basij Commandant, replacing cleric Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb. Naqdi's selection by the Supreme Leader indicates the need for a hard hitting, security minded authority, who is not afraid to take decisive action against internal elements perceived as a soft or hard threat to the Islamic Republic establishment. It's also possible that his appointment, to a degree, represents an attempt by Khamenei to promote a balance of power within Iran's multiple layers of state security apparatuses, with Naqdi very much being a supreme leader man. It has also been reported that the Basij are to be incorporated into IRGC ground forces and if true, Naqdi will no doubt supervise this formal crossover.
*Biography provided courtesy of Naj at Neo-Resistance, with supplemental details provided by Roozonline.com