Iran appoints new IRGC spy chief as Israel tensions rise

Iran appoints new commander to head the powerful intelligence service of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with no reason given as to why the previous chief left the job.

Ramezan Sharif, spokesman of the elite force, announced in a statement on Thursday that Hossein Taeb was replaced by Mohammad Kazemi, who previously headed the Intelligence Protection Organisation, the counterintelligence arm of the IRGC.

The 59-year-old Taeb, who was previously a senior figure in the Iranian intelligence ministry, switched to the IRGC in the late 2000s, and was appointed as the head of the paramilitary Basij organisation in 2008. Iran appoints

One year later, the intelligence unit of the IRGC was formed and Taeb took its helm, a position he held until his replacement was announced.

No reason was provided on Thursday for Taeb’s departure by the IRGC spokesman, who only said Taeb was appointed as an adviser to the force’s commander-in-chief, Hossein Salami.

The news came after two days of rumours online that Taeb had been dismissed from his position. No Iranian official commented on the speculation.

Israel raised its Istanbul travel advisory to the highest alert level earlier this month and said citizens could be targeted by Iranian attempts to kill or abduct Israelis vacationing in Turkey.

Dying nuclear deal

In July 2021, the Reuters news agency claimed in a report, citing unnamed Iraqi sources, that Taeb led an IRGC delegation to Baghdad and advised Shia militias to step up attacks on American targets without going too far.

Tensions between Iran and the United States across the region have significantly escalated since Washington unilaterally abandoned Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions that are enforced to this day.

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