Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Mohammad Bagheri as the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, replacing Hassan Firouzabadi, who held the position for 27 years. Firouzabadi, an outspoken military commander who in recent years has been supportive of President Hassan Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts, will serve as an adviser to Khamenei, who is commander in chief of the armed forces.
Before his June 28 appointment, Maj. Gen. Bagheri, whose real last name is Afshordi, was not known as a high-profile personality in Iranian media. Bagheri joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in 1980 and eventually became one of the senior intelligence operational commanders of the Iran-Iraq War. Bagheri was serving as the deputy of intelligence and operations of the armed forces before his appointment. His brother, Hassan Bagheri, former deputy head of ground forces of the IRGC who died in 1983, was one of the famous commanders of the Iran-Iraq War and played an important role in the liberation of Khorramshahr.