Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jun. 02 – The former commandant of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wanted for his involvement in a spate of international terrorist attacks, is currently in Saudi Arabia, Iran Focus has learnt.
Tehran, Iran, Jun. 02 – The former commandant of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wanted for his involvement in a spate of international terrorist attacks, is currently in Saudi Arabia, Iran Focus has learnt.
Major General Mohsen Rezai was Commander of the IRGC from 1981 to 1997 and currently serves as Secretary of the state Expediency Council.
Rezai and Iran's former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived in Jeddah on Monday to meet and hold talks with Saudi officials, Iranian state media reported.
Rafsanjani is currently Chairman of the state Expediency Council.
Both officials plan to attend a three-day conference on inter-religious dialogue in Mecca from June 4-6.
The IRGC, and in particular its Qods (Jerusalem) Force, are tasked with “liberating Jerusalem through Karbala” in stark contrast to the country’s regular armed forces which are purely for defending the country against foreign attacks.
Maj. Gen. Rezai was born in 1954. He is seen in some circles to be a close confidant of Ayatollah Rafsanjani.
Mohsen Rezai’s life story is one of the most bizarre, and yet typical, cases of extreme make-over among the Islamic regime’s elite. From his humble origins in the impoverished rural areas near Masjid Soleiman in southwest Iran, Rezai rose to become one of the most feared figures in the clergy-dominated Iran. He dropped his strange forename, Sabzevar, and opted for a more common one, Mohsen. In the mid-1970s, he joined a small Islamic fundamentalist group that advocated armed opposition to the Shah’s regime.
When the clergy rose to power in 1979, Rezai became one of the founders of the clerics’ private army, the Revolutionary Guards. He was first the head of intelligence and later became the commander of the entire force. His unrivalled ruthlessness in dealing with opponents of the theocratic regime and his complete dedication to Khomeini’s ideology made him an ideal military commander in the nascent state.
Rezai played a key role in setting up the Iranian regime’s apparatus for carrying out terrorist attacks abroad. He was directly involved in the planning and execution of some of the biggest terrorist acts committed by the clerical regime outside Iran, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut, which left behind 242 dead, and the deadly bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.
In November 2006, a federal judge in Argentina issued an international arrest warrant for both Gen. Rezai and Ayatollah Rafsanjani for masterminding the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires which left 85 people dead and 300 others injured. Several other senior Iranian officials were handed down Interpol arrest warrants.