Hejazi to Succeed Rezai
Arash SigarchiLess than two years since the changes that were made by ayatollah Khamenei in the leadership of the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps, that involved deputy Passdaran Commander Morteza Rezai, the vast changes that were launched by the Leader of Iran in the Passdaran force that began in the middle of last year continue. In the most recent change, Passdar General seyed Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi replaced Rezai, indicating that the reshuffling still continues also confirming that Rezai was merely a temporary appointment. The deputy Passdar Commander is appointed by the confirmation of the Leader of the Islamic state on the recommendation of the Commander of the Passdaran.
Simultaneously, ayatollah Khamenei also appointed a new deputy for coordination of Passdaran force.
On November 24th, 2006 Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr left the Passdaran and joined Ahmadinejad’s administration to become the vice minister for security at the ministry of the interior. That situation changed “in a suspicious manner”, in the words of Etemad newspaper on December 8, 2006, leading to his resignation. When Zolghadr left, ayatollah Khamenei appointed Morteza Rezai as the new deputy commander of the Passdaran. While this change was important, observers underscored the importance of the change when ayatollah Khamenei last year removed Yahya Rahim Safavi who had been the commander of the Passdaran for 8 consecutive years and replaced him with Mohammad Ali Jaafari.
It was in light of these reshuffles that ayatollah Khamenei ordered that Basij para-military resistance force come under the full command of the Passdaran thus reducing the force to the deputy level under Passdaran.
Because ayatollah Khamenei did not appoint a successor for Zolghadr when he left the Passdaran post for the ministry of the interior, rumors spread that he was not keen on appointing Morteza Reza to the vacant post at the Passdaran. But in May of 2006, Khamenei made that appointment and put Rezai in the number two seat of the force.
Morteza Rezai is among the seven individuals who 2 days into the victory of the 1979 revolution raised the idea creating a Passdaran Revolutionary Guards force. Of the seven, most were either been killed in the war or left the Passdaran such as Mohsen Rezai who is now in the State Expediency Council. But Mohsen Rezai stayed on for years as the head of the Passdaran’s intelligence unit and remains, according to observers, to be among the most powerful commanders of the force.
Still, with this recent appointment by ayatollah Khamenei, Mohsen Rezai gives his post to Hejazi, who is viewed to be very close to the Leader of the Islamic regime.
Hejazi is not unknown to the reformists. When the reformers were in power, Hejazi was in charge of the para-military Basij force and many of them view him to be responsible for the headaches of the Khatami administration. He has been held responsible for supporting the idea of the Basij intruding into political issues, and passively supporting the participation of Basij members in strike groups known as Ansare Hezbollah.