Ayatollah Appoints Hardliner General Hossein Salami as IRGC Chief

Sardar Hossein Salami & Sardar Mohammad Bagheri & Sardar Mohammad pakpour in Great Prophet Wargame in April 2016

Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei appointed General Hossein Salami the new head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Sunday, citing the need for a shake-up of the organization’s high command.

In a decree published Sunday, Khamenei announced that Salami (pictured), currently second in command, would replace Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as head the IRGC, an organization responsible for countless human rights violations.

“In the light of Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari’s opinion about the necessity of change in the (high) command of the IRGC and while thanking a decade of his valuable and voluminous and lasting services, in view of your merits and precious experiences in large-scale management (positions) and various responsibilities (that you shouldered) within the revolutionary, Jihadi and popular institution of the IRGC, I grant you the rank of major general and appoint you as the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps,” the Leader said in his decree.

Salami, who joined the IRGC at the outset of Iran’s war with Iraq in 1980, was serving as second-in-command to Ali Jafari, who is stepping down from the role he took in 2007.

As noted by the Times of Israel, Salami has repeatedly threatened to destroy both the United States and Israel. In February, he revealed how he was “planning to break America, Israel, and their partners and allies,” calling on Iranian forces to “cleanse the planet from the filth of their existence.”

“Iran has warned the Zionist regime not to play with fire, because they will be destroyed before the US helps them,” he said at the time. “[A new war] will result in Israel’s defeat within three days, in a way that they will not find enough graves to bury their dead.”

The IRGC was formed in 1979 in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, with a stated mission of defending the regime against both domestic and international threats. Over the last year alone, IRGC authorities have arrested over 7,000 individuals over for their involvement in nationwide demonstrations against the regime. Others targeted have included student organizers, journalists, environmentalists, workers, and human rights activists.

Last month, the U.S. designated the IRGC a terrorist organization, arguing that it operates as the “Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”

“This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. It makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC,” President Donald Trump said on signing the designation. “If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.”

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