Iran has sacked the longtime intelligence chief of the Revolutionary Guard force, considered one of the country’s most powerful figures, amid growing concerns over Israel’s covert war on Israelis. Iranian defense systems and its nuclear program.
The removal of intelligence chief Hossein Taeb after 13 years in the post was confirmed in a statement from the guards which did not explain why he was removed from his post. But analysts agreed that his failure to prevent Israel from breaching Iran’s security network was at the heart of it.
“He failed to stop Israel’s infiltration and didn’t have much success in retaliatory operations outside the borders,” said Seyed Peyman Taheri, an analyst close to the Iranian government. “His withdrawal is to bring in new blood and get those two things under control.”
Israel and Iran have been trapped for years in a shadow war – a series of covert operations spanning land, sea, air and cyberspace. But recently, Israel has stepped up its attacks and expanded the targets beyond those involved in the nuclear program. It has also launched a number of drone strikes deep inside Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett admitted to covering Israel’s operations against the Revolutionary Guards in an exit interview with The Times on Monday, saying that when the Iranians ‘hit us by proxy or directly, they will pay the price’ . He described his so-called “octopus doctrine” of hitting Tehran by the head rather than the tentacles.
“It turns out these guys are more vulnerable than they look,” he said. “The Iranian regime is rotten, corrupt – and incompetent.
Mr Taeb, who is a Shia cleric, was replaced by General Mohammad Kazemi, a senior Guardsman who headed the Revolutionary Guards’ Information Protection Unit, which oversees all operations of the force. .
Mr. Taeb, who was considered almost as powerful as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his role: The mere mention of his name inspired fear as he ordered a crackdown on dissent, executions, arrests and various intelligence operations.
Taeb’s removal will likely lead to a major reorganization of the guards’ intelligence unit, with a focus on tracking down Israel’s spies and cleaning up the house, experts in Iran say.
Just days before Mr Taeb was sacked, the Israeli media accused him of supporting the plot to target Israeli tourists in Turkey. Turkey arrested five Iranians in Istanbul on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in an alleged plot to kill Israeli tourists in the country.
President Donald J. Trump designated the Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist group in 2019 and imposed sanctions on it. It was the first time the United States government had blacklisted part of a country’s military as a terrorist organization.
The decision has since stalled negotiations with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has said it will not return to the table until the designation is eliminated, but the Biden administration has refused. .
The Revolutionary Guards statement said Mr Taeb had been appointed as an adviser to the Revolutionary Guards Commander-in-Chief, Major General Hossein Salami – a much lower ranking post. He praised his years of service as head of intelligence and before that, as head of the paramilitary unit Basij – a guards division that functions as his inner arm in suppressing dissent.