Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards get new deputy chief

Iran Focus: a pro-MEK website
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed on Sunday a senior military intelligence official as the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Islamic Republic’s ideological armed force.

In a statement carried by the official news agency, Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Morteza Rezai for the top post.

General Rezai was formerly the head of the IRGC’s Counter-Intelligence Directorate. READ MORE

Rezai replaces Brigadier General Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr who was recently appointed as deputy Interior Minister with overall responsibility for internal security.

Zolqadr is a protégé and trusted confidant of Khamenei and has had a key role in the country’s security apparatus for years. He is also a staunch ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The IRGC was founded in the early days of the Islamic revolution in 1979 as an armed force loyal to Iran’s clerical rulers. Its commanders directly report to Supreme Leader Khamenei and their mission is to “protect and propagate the Islamic revolution.

Since Ahmadinejad took office as President last year, hundreds of senior officers of the IRGC have been seconded to government ministries and state institutions to “prop up” the country’s civil administration as the Islamic Republic continues to defy the international community over its suspected nuclear weapons program.