High-ranking Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general dies, aged 65

Brig Gen Mohammad Hejazi was deputy commander of Iran's Quds Force, which oversees proxy militias across region

Brig Gen Mohammad Hejazi. AP
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A high-ranking general who played a key role in Iran’s foreign military operations has died of heart disease, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Sunday.

Brig Gen Mohammad Hejazi, 65, served as deputy commander of the IRGC's secretive Quds Force.

The unit is an elite and influential group that oversees foreign operations, and Hejazi helped to lead its expeditionary forces, frequently travelling between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Born in 1956 in the city of Isfahan, he joined the IRGC after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and fought in the Iran-Iraq war.

Hejazi came to lead the paramilitary Basij volunteer corps for a decade.

Under his leadership the force became a pillar of the country’s security and political apparatus.

He was made deputy commander of the Quds Force in January 2020 after the death of its head, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Hejazi claimed to have been with Soleimani the night before his death.

The European Union put sanctions on Hejazi for his role in crushing the Green Movement protests in 2009, which broke out over the results of the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential election.

He led the IRGC’s Sarallah station in Tehran, the unit’s notorious headquarters and the nerve-centre of its brutal crackdown on the demonstrations.

Before he became deputy commander of the Quds Force, Hejazi led the Guard’s paramilitary wing in Lebanon.

In August 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Hejazi and two others as being behind an IRGC plan to arm Hezbollah with precision-guided missiles.

Iranian media reported that he joined forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.