Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) appointed Mohammad-Reza Fallahzadeh on Monday as the new deputy commander for its external Quds Force unit.
Fallahzadeh replaces Mohammad Hejazi, one of Iran’s top commanders, whose death the IRGC announced in a statement on Sunday.
The IRGC statement said Hejazi died of heart disease, but IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif said on Monday he died from health complications caused by his exposure to chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Fallahzadeh, one of the lesser known senior IRGC commanders, previously served as deputy coordinator in the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the IRGC.
He was a close aide to the late head of the Quds Force Qassem Soleimani and one of the main Iranian commanders in Syria.
Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful figure after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq in January 2020. He was replaced by Esmail Ghaani.
Prior to his involvement in Syria, Fallahzadeh served as governor of Yazd province from 2007 to 2013.
In 2019, Fallahzadeh was promoted to the rank of brigadier general for his role in Syria and appointed as deputy coordinator in the Quds Force.