Iran dismisses IRGC’s intelligence chief
It comes after string of assassinations of IRGC and military personnel in recent months
Iran on Thursday dismissed the intelligence chief of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and replaced him with a senior military commander.
IRGC chief Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami in a decree on Thursday appointed Brig. Gen. Mohammad Kazemi in place of Hossein Taeb, a formidable clergyman who held the powerful post for 13 years.
The elite military organization's intelligence wing, founded in 2009, functions in parallel with the ministry of intelligence, but is believed to yield more influence.
IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif said Taeb will serve as Salami's adviser in a new role.
His little-known successor previously headed the organization's counter-intelligence wing, also known as the Intelligence Protection Organization (IPO), and is said to be an expert on security and intelligence matters.
IRGC spokesman gave no reason for the shake-up, which comes amid a string of security incidents across the country, including mysterious killings of individuals associated with the guards and military.
The most high-profile incident came on May 22 when IRGC colonel Sayyad Khodaei was shot dead outside his home in east Tehran.
Iranian authorities, including President Ebrahim Raisi, blamed it on Israel and vowed to avenge the killing.
Taeb's dismissal, according to security experts, shows the intent to "plug the holes" in Iran's security leadership, especially amid the ongoing shadowy war between Iran and Israel.
"The recent security developments and mysterious killings of IRGC and military personnel have given rise to many uncomfortable questions, so naturally heads had to roll," Amirali Ahmedi, a Tehran-based security analyst, told Anadolu Agency.
The exit of a highly-influential security figure like Taeb, he said, is less likely to affect the morale of IRGC's vast intelligence force.
"Such decisions are taken at the highest level and those at the helm definitely felt it was time for Taeb to go," Ahmedi said. "Recent incidents certainly didn't help his cause."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.