In a decree on August 21, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promoted Brigadier General Abdulrahim Mousavi to the rank of major general and appointed him as the new chief of Iran’s army.
Mousavi replaces Major General Ataollah Salehi, who held the post for 10 years.
Meanwhile, Khamenei appointed Salehi as the new second-in-command for the Iranian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff. Salehi, a regular army commander, was appointed upon a proposal by his new boss, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri.
The news of Mousavi’s promotion coincides with the Iranian Parliament’s approval on August 20 of another regular army commander, Major General Amir Hatami, for the post of defense minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s new cabinet.
Hatami is the first defense minister to be picked from Iran’s regular army in almost three decades.
Mousavi is an Iran-Iraq war veteran born in Qom, the second sacred city for Shi’a inside Iran. He was formerly deputy chief of general staff of Iran’s armed forces.
In his new position as the army’s highest chief commander, Mousavi will supervise Iran’s army, which comprises four separate forces: Ground, Air, Navy, and Air Defense.
Khamenei is the commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces.
Contrary to the IRGC, which has expanded its domain to intelligence and internal security matters, Iran’s army has limited its activities to guarding the borders as well as providing backup and assistance in case of natural disasters.
According to the Iranian Constitution, the army is in charge of guarding the independence and territorial integrity of the country, while the IRGC is responsible for “guarding the revolution and its achievements.”
However, the IRGC also has separate forces, including Ground, Navy, Air, and Quds. Quds Force has been designed for extraterritorial operations and is currently engaged in Iraq and Syria.
Meanwhile, the army’s naval force is in charge of patrolling the Sea of Oman, while the IRGC’s Navy guards the Persian Gulf area.