Who Is Mohammad Reza Fallahzadeh, the New Deputy Commander of Iran’s Qods Force?

Following the sudden passing of Mohammad Hossein-Zadeh Hejazi, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Fallahzadeh as his replacement on April 19. Who is Fallahzadeh, why was he named as second-in-command of such a crucial tool in Tehran’s foreign policy, and how might his appointment affect the organization?

Also known as Abu Baqer, Fallahzadeh was born in Yazd province in 1962 or 1963 and hails from a family of Iran-Iraq War veterans. One brother, Mohammad Baqer, was killed in combat in 1987; another relative, Asghar, currently serves in the Qods Force and may be Fallahzadeh’s brother as well.

Next to nothing is known about his service in the Iran-Iraq War, perhaps due to his junior position at the time. Information about his activities since then is rather scarce as well, however. The official statement announcing his appointment included a few sentences noting his previous roles as a provincial IRGC chief in Isfahan (where he commanded the 33rd al-Mahdi Division), Fars (19th Fajr Division), and Yazd, but no information is available regarding his performance in those positions.

Much like his military career, Fallahzadeh’s political arc after the Iran-Iraq War seems to resemble that of his peers. In 2007, he was named governor of his native Yazd province, making him one of many IRGC commanders who became political appointees under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Fallahzadeh himself was accused of replacing professional civil servants in the province with IRGC colleagues, and for spending more time promoting his career in Tehran than serving the local community. English-language coverage of his tenure mainly focused on delegations from Ghana, France, and Japan visiting Yazd to explore investment opportunities, none of which materialized. When President Hassan Rouhani dismissed Fallahzadeh in 2013, his replacement purged IRGC officers from the provincial administration and reinstated the civil servants.

Read the complete article at: Washington Institute

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