Top Iranian General Hejazi dies at 65

Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi ( Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A high-ranking general responsible for Iran’s regional military activities and an architect of its repressive internal security apparatus has died.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on April 18 that Brigadier General Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi died of heart disease at the age of 65. The statement provided no further details about his death.

Hejazi served as deputy commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, an elite unit leading Iran’s operations in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Hejazi was appointed deputy commander of the Quds Force in January 2020 after leading the IRGC’s activities in Lebanon, where Iran backs its Shi’ite ally Hizballah.

A statement from the IRGC said he was also active fighting against the so-called Islamic State and “Takfiri terrorists,” meaning he played a role in Iraq and Syria.

Born in 1956 in the city of Isfahan, Hejazi joined the IRGC after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and was involved in suppressing a Kurdish uprising and then held various command positions during the Iran-Iraq War.

In one of his most prominent positions, the ultra-hard-liner led IRGC’s paramilitary Basij force from 1998 for almost nine years. During this time, he helped turn the omnipresent domestic security force and its affiliated vigilante organizations into a tool to crack down on dissent and reformist politicians.