In Main Safety Shakeup, Iran Replaces IRGC Intelligence Chief


Hossein Taeb, a hard-line cleric, was the intelligence chief of Iran’s highly effective Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the elite department of the armed forces, for over a decade. However in a shock transfer, the IRGC introduced on June 23 that it had eliminated Taeb from his outstanding publish.

The foremost shakeup within the IRGC’s intelligence equipment comes after a collection of current incidents inside Iran, together with sabotage and cyberattacks, assassinations, and the mysterious killings of IRGC members in addition to scientists and engineers.

Tehran has blamed a few of the incidents on Israel, its regional foe.

The IRGC mentioned Taeb would get replaced by Basic Mohammad Kazemi, who was beforehand in control of the IRGC’s Intelligence Safety Unit, which focuses on surveillance inside the drive.

The IRGC didn’t say why Taeb, who had held the publish since 2009, was eliminated. It added that Taeb had been appointed as an adviser to IRGC chief Main Basic Hossein Salami, suggesting he was demoted.

Analysts say Taeb’s elimination seems to be linked to an inside energy battle inside the IRGC, in addition to mounting considerations over the attainable penetration of Iran’s safety equipment by Israel, which has intensified its shadow conflict in opposition to the Islamic republic in current months.

Raz Zimmt, a analysis affiliate at Tel Aviv College, says Iran’s failure to thwart a collection of suspected Israeli assaults, together with on its nuclear and navy amenities and personnel, seemingly led to Taeb’s dismissal.

“Israel’s successes not solely within the nuclear area however in different areas required the Iranian management to reevaluate its intelligence and safety programs, and make some personnel adjustments, together with Taeb,” Zimmt advised RFE/RL.

Mohammad Kazemi (center) has replaced Hossein Taeb (right) as head of intelligence.

Mohammad Kazemi (middle) has changed Hossein Taeb (proper) as head of intelligence.

Considerations have been raised over the attainable infiltration of Iran’s safety equipment following the November 2020 assassination of the nation’s high nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, close to Tehran. Final month, Hassan Sayad Khodaei, a colonel within the IRGC’s abroad arm, the Quds Drive, was killed by gunmen exterior his dwelling within the capital.

Tehran has blamed each killings on Israel, which can be believed to have been behind the assassinations of no less than 5 Iranian nuclear scientists previously decade.

‘Infighting Inside The IRGC’

Analysts say Taeb’s elimination is also an indication of rising divisions within the IRGC and among the many nation’s hard-line political faction.

“It can’t be dominated out that Taeb’s political rivals within the supreme chief’s workplace, the IRGC, Intelligence Ministry, and parliament have sought to make the most of current safety failures in Iran to result in his elimination from workplace,” Zimmt added.

Berlin-based analyst Ehsan Mehrabi says reshuffles in Iran’s safety and intelligence equipment are normally pushed by inside calculations fairly than exterior components.

“There have been a number of incidents suggesting that there’s infighting inside the IRGC, together with the leak of an audio recording of IRGC commanders or the current arrest of the managers of [pro-establishment] Telegram channels,” Mehrabi advised RFE/RL. “All of this demonstrates behind-the-scenes divisions and the alternative of Taeb might be one other [sign] of it.”

In current months, the Islamic republic has been rocked by a number of embarrassing leaks, together with an audio recording obtained by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda by which officers might be heard discussing corruption investigations inside the IRGC.

Within the audio recording leaked in February, one of many officers means that Taeb had lobbied in favor of then-Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who confronted accusations of corruption.

Qalibaf, who’s at present the speaker of parliament, was the goal of one other damaging leak in April when photos of his household’s reported procuring spree in Turkey had been posted on social media, triggering widespread outrage at a time when many Iranians are struggling to make ends meet.

On June 15, the IRGC introduced the arrests of the directors of three hard-line Telegram channels believed to have hyperlinks to the clerical institution.

The three unnamed people had been charged with publishing “labeled paperwork” and “disturbing the general public opinion.” The IRGC accused them of making “discord” amongst officers by publishing “selective and false information.”

‘Consequential Dismissal’

Taeb, who’s blacklisted by america and European Union for his alleged function in state repression, labored within the workplace of Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier than he was appointed because the IRGC’s intelligence chief.

Mehrabi says Taeb is believed to be near Mojtaba Khamenei, the influential son of the supreme chief who has been talked about as a attainable successor to his aged father.

“That is why [Taeb’s] elimination is so vital,” Mehrabi mentioned.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as a vice chairman beneath former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, mentioned on Twitter that change was “needed” following “Israeli infiltrations.”

Abtahi expressed hope that Taeb’s successor will have the ability to stop overseas intelligence companies from penetrating Iran’s safety equipment.

Laborious-line politician Hamid Rasaee mentioned Taeb’s elimination was “essentially the most consequential dismissal” since Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri misplaced his standing as Khomeini’s hand-picked successor and deputy. The dissident theologian, who spent 5 years beneath home arrest, died in 2009.

Different hard-liners welcomed Kazemi’s appointment and praised him for “residing a easy life” in addition to what they described as his “sincerity” and “decisiveness.”

Kazemi, generally known as Haj Kazem, has stored a low-profile. Few of his pictures have been made public. The IRGC mentioned Kazemi had “in depth expertise” in safety and intelligence affairs.

The IRGC’s intelligence department, in its present kind, was created in 2009 quickly after the disputed presidential election that 12 months triggered mass protests and a brutal state crackdown.

The dreaded department has been allegedly concerned within the arrests of scores of activists, conservationists, and alleged spies in addition to foreigners and twin nationals. It has been accused of arresting people on trumped-up prices and extracting confessions beneath duress.

The IRGC’s intelligence department has expanded its actions lately amid stories of its rising rivalry with the Intelligence Ministry.

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