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Khamenei sacks security police chief

TEHRAN, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday sacked the hardline security police chief, who is mired in a court case that saw his subordinates convicted of torture.

The official news agency IRNA said Khamenei had ordered the removal of Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, who is fighting an eight-month jail sentence he received last year for slander in a graft scandal in Tehran municipality.

Some of his aides were sentenced to jail for mistreating several district mayors during their detention three years ago on corruption charges.

Brigadier General Abdolhossein Ramezani, a low-key Revolutionary Guards official, was appointed to replace Naqdi as head of intelligence and security for the national police.

Khamenei, who is the commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces, transferred Naqdi to an administrative post as head of the logistics department of the armed forces, IRNA said.

No reason was given for Naqdi's transfer, but the move could be part of a reshuffle of the top brass of the police and armed forces.

Naqdi, an Islamic hardliner, has been a controversial figure known for his acerbic attacks on reformers allied with President Mohammad Khatami. Last year, he called for the death of students jailed for alleged blasphemy in a campus play. His call drew an indirect public reprimand from Khamenei.

Naqdi's removal came less than three months after the ouster of police chief Hedayat Lotfian, another hardliner whom reformers held responsible for bloody student unrest in July 1999.


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