Published: Wed, April 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran's supreme leader picks new Revolutionary Guard chief

Iran's supreme leader picks new Revolutionary Guard chief

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed hard-liner Brig-Gen Hossein Salami to become the new head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), it was announced Sunday on Khamenei's official website.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has replaced the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), days after the United States designated the group a foreign terrorist organization.

The announcement was made by the country's state TV without providing a reason for the re-shuffle.

The estimated 100,000-strong IRGC is a branch of the military that also plays a major role in Iran's economy. While Jafari has helmed the elite armed unit for close to 12 years as he was appointed its head in September 2007.

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President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Guards a terrorist organization, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on USA forces. Salami joined the force during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and held a number of posts in its ground, air and naval forces, according to state-run media.

Tehran retaliated by naming the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization and the US government as a sponsor of terrorism.

He recently issued threats against the United States and Israel, saying Iran plans to "fight them on the global level, not just in one spot". The decision comes as Iran's nuclear deal with world powers is in tatters following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the accord and restore crippling sanctions, which has sparked outrage in Iran. Iran then vowed to continue shipping oil disregarding the sanctions and threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, the only maritime exit from the Persian Gulf, in case its exports were endangered.

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