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Iran’s IRGC Quds Force chief hints at group’s power at home and in the Middle East

In recent years Iran has seen the rise of prominent figures associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC already has a parallel state in Iran, which controls parts of the economy, foreign policy and manufactures new military technologies such as missiles, drones and attack boats.

According to Tasnim news agency, the head of the IRGC Quds Force, Ismail Kani attended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and congratulated Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdullahian on being elected as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Why does this matter? Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC Quds Force in the past, was seen in reports as a “shadow commander”, a man who roamed the Middle East and pushed Iran’s agenda far and wide, but who often denied his role. Didn’t brag. When the US killed Soleimani in a drone strike in January 2020, he was replaced by Kani, a man of obscure abilities. Kani was rumored to be an expert in Afghanistan, and his role there may have helped oust the US from Kabul this year, but his role in Iraq and Syria has not been fully formed.

Yet the reports of his meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs attempt to demonstrate his power and influence. The report said that in the meeting they emphasized the “special and important position of the Ministry of External Affairs in safeguarding the national interests of our country”. But why does the ministry, previously run by Javad Zarif, famous in the West, need the blessings of the Quds Force? Because it reflects the actual power structure and how the ministry works closely with the IRGC.

Zarif, although tended to be close to the IRGC when needed and a “moderate” when speaking to Western audiences, was not really close to Soleimani. Interestingly, the report states that Amir-Abdullahian, “appreciating Sardar Qani’s valuable presence in the Foreign Ministry, pointed to Soleimani’s irreplaceable role in the fight against terrorism.” Iran uses the term “terrorism” to refer to ISIS and other extremists. “Today our territory was different,” said the minister bluntly. “If ISIS had succeeded in Syria and Iraq, it would face terrorism and extremism around the world today.”

Why did he discuss ISIS? Because the Quds Force helped Iraq defeat ISIS. “Amir Abdullayan called the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a soldier without borders who has made a great contribution to regional and global security and peace,” the report said. The minister said that today Iran seeks to follow Soleimani’s path in the region, using the Quds force to achieve its goal of increasing “friendship with the countries of the region”.

Women gather at Baghdad airport, where Iran's Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a US airstrike last year.  WISSAM AL-OKAILI/REUTERSWomen gather at Baghdad airport, where Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a US airstrike last year. WISSAM AL-OKAILI/REUTERS

It is important to note here that they used The word “terror” many Iran has recently accused Iran of “terrorist” attacks. Iran also bragged this week about defeating a “terrorist group” and other reports in Iran Appeared to indicate Iran There was anger at Azerbaijan, which it has accused of having close ties with Israel. Iran’s top diplomat also accused the US of “terrorism” and claimed that the US killing of Soleimani was “terrorism”. Pro-Iran groups often claim that the US supports ISIS, even though the US is fighting ISIS.

This means that the use of the Iranian term “terror” is quite widespread and can refer to the actions of the Quds Force against Israel, the US and other countries, as well as the fight against ISIS. Iran claims it is the “pivot of resistance” in this framework. The publication of the details of the Qani meeting is aimed at coordinating Iran’s new regime closely with the Quds Force.

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