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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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Soleimani’s Replacement Key Leader in Hezbollah’s Missile Program

[dropcap style=”dropcap_style1″ textcolor=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” fontweight=”900″]Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Quds Force leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike on January 3rd, already has a replacement. The Jerusalem Post reports that the “new deputy commander” was “key to Hezbollah’s precision missile project.” Mohammed Hejazi, the newly named leader, had been under Soleimani’s command and was a “central figure in Iran’s operations in Lebanon.”

Specifically, a public Israeli Defense Forces report released in August of 2019 showed that Hejazi was “commander of Iran’s precision-guided missile project in Lebanon.” Iranian media sources suggest Hejazi has been in Lebanon for years, working alongside the terrorist organization Hezbollah. According to the Jerusalem Post, “prior to going to Lebanon for the IRGC, he was involved in research and logistics, making him keenly aware of how Iran moves its missiles to groups like Hezbollah.”

A terrorist in his own right, Ynet reported Hejazi was linked to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community center in Argentina. Additionally, Hejazi was “sanctioned by the US in 2007 and the EU in 2011 for his role in human rights and other violations.” He also “helped suppress protests for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.”

While helping to supply arms to Hezbollah and aiding in stockpiling Lebanon’s estimated 150,000 missiles, the program even received a warning from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As recent as March of 2019, Israel stated Hezbollah’s missile program became a key threat to Israel and the region. In August of 2019, Israel warned the world about the precision guidance capabilities of the missiles, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “warned Lebanon about allowing Hezbollah to build precision guidance missile factories.”

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Radio Farda reported concerns that Hejazi’s new role in the “post-Soleimani era” is a “huge promotion because of [Ayatollah] Khamenei’s now openly expressed strategy of keeping the war with the United States and Israel outside Iranian borders.” The Jerusalem Post says that “Hejazi’s key role in Lebanon and his new role as deputy of the IRGC Quds Force shows that Iran has plans to strike abroad.”

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