Iran dismisses powerful Revolutionary Guard intelligence unit chief

Hossein Taeb's removal follows series of high-profile incidents Tehran blames on Israel

Hossein Taeb, the former head of the intelligence apparatus of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in 2018. AFP
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Tehran has dismissed the powerful chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence unit, Hossein Taeb, Iranian state TV said on Thursday.

It follows a series of high-profile incidents Iran has blamed on its arch-foe Israel.

Iranian state media gave no reason for the move, but said Mr Taeb would become an adviser to the guards' commander-in-chief Hossein Salami.

Mr Taeb will be replaced by Mohammad Kazemi, previously head of the guards' intelligence protection unit.

Iran, which refuses to recognise Israel, has long accused “the Zionist regime” of sabotaging its nuclear sites and killing scientists and senior commanders inside Iranian borders.

In May, Iran blamed Israel for killing Revolutionary Guard colonel Sayyad Khodaei, the most high-profile assassination inside Iran since the 2020 killing of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which Tehran also blamed on Israel.

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Israel has not denied or accepted responsibility, but Iran's inability to thwart those attacks has exposed security gaps, which suggest the country remains vulnerable.

Mr Taeb, a mid-ranking cleric and member of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's inner circle, was accused by some Israeli media of being behind an alleged Iranian plot to kill or abduct Israelis vacationing in Turkey. Israel raised its Istanbul travel advisory to the highest alert level on June 13.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked Turkey on Thursday for helping to foil the Iranian plot in Istanbul and said the security effort was still under way.

Before becoming the guards' Intelligence chief in 2009, Mr Taeb worked in Mr Khamenei's office.

Updated: June 24, 2022, 5:22 AM