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The 'Admiral' Heads Iran’s National Security Council

Former Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani is the first Iranian of Arab descent appointed to the position of secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
Iranian outgoing Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani speaks with journalists during a news conference at the Defence Ministry in Tehran August 9, 2005. Iran, a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would drop all its international nuclear pledges if its atomic facilities were attacked, the outgoing Defence Minister said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl  MN/KI - RTRJZFP

TEHRAN, Iran — Ali Shamkhani is Iran’s new Supreme National Security Council secretary, a new role for the strong man who used to be Iran’s defense minister a decade ago, Iran’s navy commander two decades ago and the supreme leader’s military adviser only days ago. 

The “admiral” — as he is called here in Tehran — brings something much more interesting to the job than all his previous positions held. Shamkhani is an Arab, and this makes him the first Iranian Arab to be given such responsibility. Indeed, he was also the first Arab to be defense minister (1997-2005).

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