Guards Corps Bassij commander replaced, signaling further disaffection, departures within the Guards Corps

Yesterday, mullahs' leader, Ali Khamenei, appointed Mohammad Hossein-zadeh Hejazi as the new commander of the para-military Bassij Forces of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. He replaces Alireza Afshar who was among the most senior GC commanders in the past 18 years.

Coming after Mohsen Reza'i, the Guards Corps commander in chief, and Ahmad Vahidi, the Qods Force commander, quit, Afshar's departure is another clear indication of widespread disillusionment among and withdrawals from the forces loyal to the Khomeini regime.

It also points to the unbridled escalation of the internal power struggle within the clerical regime. Following the troika leadership in the aftermath of the May presidential elections, many Guards Corps commanders have quit the Force.

The Bassij is one of the most active forces of the Guards Corps and charged with repression in urban and rural areas.

A Guards Corps Brig. Gen. Hossein-zadeh Hejazi was the Chief of Staff for the Bassij Force since 1989. In 1995, he was also appointed as the head of a department in the Guards Corps' Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Previously, he had served in the Guards Corps in Isfahan, Hamedan, Mashhad and Tehran and played an active role in arresting and executing thousands of political prisoners and cracking down on urban demonstrations. A Guards Corps commander since 1979, Hejazi was a Bassij official responsible for dispatching teenagers to the war fronts.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 13, 1998

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