Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shuffled the top ranks of the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Sunday, appointing the deputy chief of the hardline force as its top leader.
Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was made commander of the IRGC, replacing Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari, who has headed the military force since 2007, in accordance with Iranian media reports.
Salami has frequently vowed to destroy Israel and “break America.” Iran was “planning to break America, Israel, and their partners and allies. Our ground forces should cleanse the planet from the filth of their existence,” Salami claimed in February. The previous month, he vowed to wipe Israel off the “global political map,” and to unleash an “Inferno” on the Jewish state.
He also claimed, “Iran has warned the Zionist regime not to play with fire, simply because they are going to be ruined before the US helps them.” Any new war, he claimed, “will result in Israel’s beat within three days, in a way that they will not find enough graves to bury their dead.”
The IRGC shakeup comes weeks after the US designated the group a terror organization, the very first time it has ever blacklisted the whole military branch under the rule.
Tehran has raged against the move and responded by labeling the US military a terror group under its own designation. It also rallied around the IRGC, with some lawmakers dressing in the division’s uniforms in parliament in reaction to the designation.
The head of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks in a conference called, ‘A World Without Terror,’ in Tehran, Iran, October 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Jafari had called the American move “laughable,” even while warning of possible retaliation.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with a mission to defend the clerical regime, and the force has amassed strong power both at home and abroad.
The Guards’ prized unit is the Quds Force, headed by powerful general Qassem Soleimani, which supports Iran-backed forces around the region, including Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
It also oversees the country’s ballistic missile program and runs its own intelligence operations.
Jafari was demoted to the post of commander of a cultural and educational division, in accordance with reports.