Iran Appoints Former F-14 Tomcat Pilot as Air Force Chief

Undated handout photo provided by Northrup Grumman shows an Iranian F-14 firing a Phoenix missile. President Bush signed legislation Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, banning the Pentagon from selling leftover F-14 fighter jet parts, a move prompted by security gaps that made the military's surplus auction a prime place for Iran …
AP Photo/Northrup Grumman

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s official IRNA news agency is reporting that the country’s top leader has appointed a new chief for its air force.

The Sunday report says Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh as the new air force chief.

Gen. Nasirzadeh, a former F-14 Tomcat pilot and veteran of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, has been the air force’s acting commander since 2017. He succeeds Gen. Hassan Shahsafi, who has held the post since 2008.

The appointment comes as part of a routine reshuffle of army commanders.

Iran began purchasing dozens of F-14 Tomcats from the U.S. in 1976. The country’s air force has both American and Russian-made fighter jets in service.

Before 1979 Islamic Revolution many Iranian pilots received their training in the U.S.


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