Iran’s supreme leader has appointed the deputy head of Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm, Esmail Qaani to replace Qasem Soleimani, who was killed on Friday in a US strike on Baghdad airport.
“Following the martyrdom of the glorious general Hajj Qasem Soleimani, I name Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement posted on his official website.
Khamenei described Qaani as one of the “most decorated commanders” of the Guards during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
“The orders for the (Quds) force remain exactly as they were during the leadership of martyr Soleimani,” said the supreme leader.
“I call on the members of the force to be present and cooperate with General Qaani and wish him divine prosperity, acceptance and guidance,” he added.
The US Defence Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”. It also accused Soleimani of approving the attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Iraqi President Barham Saleh has called for restraint after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Tehran to protest against American airstrike and Soleimani’s death.