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Iran's Khamenei appoints new army chief of staff

The new head of the Iranian armed forces hails from the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
Iranian soldiers march during the Army Day parade in Tehran on 17 April 2015 (AFP)

Iran's supreme leader has replaced the head of the armed forces with a veteran commander from the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to Iran’s semi-official news agency.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei replaced the chief of general staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firuzabadi, who has been in his post for over a decade, Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Firuzabadi's replacement is Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, 55, a veteran of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war who hails from the powerful IRGC. The IRGC is an elite force separate from the regular army.

In a decree released on his official website announcing the decision, Khamenei hailed the outgoing general’s “worthy services” during the Iran-Iraq war.

Firuzabadi was appointed as a top military advisor to Khamenei, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iran's army.

The chief of general staff of the Iranian Armed Forces is the highest military official in Iran after Khamenei.

Bagheri previously served as the deputy chief of staff. His older brother, Mohammed Hassan Bagheri, was also a prominent IRGC commander, who is still recognised in Iran as a war hero after being killed in the Iran-Iraq War.

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