- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Iran has named three new leaders to its Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Iranian news reports, a move analysts say is the latest in a series of changes to prepare the force to resist any attack by the United States.

The appointments, made at a ceremony over the weekend and reported by Iran’s Press TV, “are the continuation of a major reshuffling of the [corps] in recent months to make it more mobile and decentralized as a force to conduct irregular military activities against an invading enemy,” said analyst Rasool Nafisi.

Press TV said the appointments were made in a decree by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The corps’ ground forces and volunteer militia got new commanders, as did its base in Tehran, from which, Mr. Nafisi said, it would suppress any unrest in the capital.

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Jafar Assadi, a longtime corps commander and veteran of the 1988 war with Iraq, was put in charge of its ground forces, while Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb was tapped to head the corps’ Baseej militia of civilian volunteers. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hejazi was appointed commander of the corps’ Tharallah military base in Tehran.

Mr. Nafisi said Mr. Taeb was a cleric, considered ideologically close to the supreme leader. “Like [Ayatollah Khamenei], he has made a special study of … counter-sedition,” he said, adding that it was referred to as “knowing the enemies of the revolution.”

Mr. Nafisi, an Iranian-American who teaches at Washington’s Strayer University and follows the corps closely, said Mr. Taeb was the deputy commander of the Baseej force, a 12 million- to 15 million-strong militia of spare-time civilian volunteers he said was organized to “spy on their workmates and neighbors, take part in demonstrations of support for [the regime] and … suppress [opposition] demonstrations.”

The Baseej force is one of the five elements that constitute the corps. The others are ground, air and naval forces, and the notorious Quds brigade, which the U.S. State Department recently designated as a terrorist organization.

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