By Firoozeh Matin (source: Rooz Online)
With the beginning of the new school year in Iran, the commander of the country's Basij Mostazafan para-military mobilization force, Reza Naghdi, replaced the head of the Student Basij Hossein Ghadiani with Mohammad Vadood Heidari, the current managing editor of the force's newspaper Javan.
This change is significant because the new head, Heidari, had a made a futile run for Tehran's City Council earlier this year, for which he has been accused of misusing public Basij resources in his campaign. In that push, Heidari appeared on the Rahpooyan list, headed by Mehdi Chamran and presented himself as, "a medical doctor, head of Javan newspaper, political deputy of the supreme leader's representative at universities, and, political and media activist."
During the last presidential election he initially supported Saeed Jalili. There is not much public information about his political background and prior to heading Javan which is affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards, his name does not appear in the media.
When Hassan Rowhani won the June 2013 presidential race, Heidari openly expressed his displeasure when the conservatists lost that election and wrote a piece in his newspaper on Ahmadinejad's two terms, comparing it with the 16 years of two prior presidents. "Now is a suitable time to look at the ninth and tenth (Ahmadinejad's) administrations. Without doubt work done during this period was more than everything that had been accomplished in the preceding 16 years: development took place and efforts were made to alleviate people's sufferings. Targeted subsidies, which had been mandated to earlier administrations were implemented during Ahmadinejad's terms bringing justice. The work done during his presidency was unprecedented. The question today is whether there will be another such passionate and revolutionary president.
After being removed from his post, Ghadiani has been appointed to head the Basij organization for cyberspace.
Writing on his record, conservative Mashreq newspaper wrote this on Ghadiani's service: "Ghadiani had been the head of Student Basij since 2009. He had begun his activism at Tehran's Khaje Nasir "industrial" university where he had headed the Student Basij. He later served at Tehran University Student Basij. Following that he served as the education deputy at the national Basij organization.
Ghadiani is among those Basijis who participated in the attack on the British embassy in Tehran in November 2011 and his photo has frequently appeared in the British press as an Iranian official. Some observers have opined that his dismissal is not unrelated to president Hassan Rowhani's current trip to New York and his planned meeting with Britain's foreign secretary William Hague, particularly as media outlets in Iran have recurrently stressed that one of his goals is to reopen the British embassy in Tehran, which has been without an ambassador since the 2011 attack.
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