Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Iranian military commander killed in Damascus strike


Mohammad Reza Zahedi: A Profile in Iranian Military History

Born on Nov. 2, 1960, in Isfahan, central Iran, Mohammad Reza Zahedi was a prominent figure in the Iranian military. He was a contemporary and close friend of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, who was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 3, 2020.

Early Military Career

Zahedi joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in 1980, at the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War. Alongside Soleimani, he rose through the ranks of the special-operations Quds Force during the eight-year conflict. Soleimani appointed Zahedi as the commander of the Quds Force Lebanon Corps in 1998, a position he held until 2002 and to which he was reappointed in 2008.

Tragic End

On Monday night, Zahedi met his end in a missile attack on a military building next to the Iranian embassy in Damascus. The attack also claimed the lives of seven IRGC personnel, including three senior officers. The incident, which targeted a military building next to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, has been shrouded in controversy, with Israel being suspected of carrying out the strike.

International Response

The attack was condemned by nations worldwide, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, and Russia. The United States expressed concern about any escalation of conflict in the region but denied involvement in the strike. Iran’s response to the attack is expected to be harsh, with Hezbollah also vowing to retaliate.

Legacy of Service

Zahedi held significant roles within the IRGC throughout his career. He commanded various brigades and divisions during the Iran-Iraq War and served as the head of ground forces for the IRGC from 2005 to 2008. He was also involved in coordinating military alliances between Syria and Iran.

Sanctioned by the US

Zahedi became a target of US sanctions in 2010 for his role in supporting terrorism through his connections with Hezbollah and Syrian intelligence services. Described as “the commander of the IRGC-QF in Lebanon,” Zahedi played a key role in Iran’s support for Hezbollah and ensuring weapons shipments to the group.

Quds Force Activities

The Quds Force has been active in Syria since 2011, providing military support to the Assad regime during the civil war. The force has also been involved in fighting alongside Syrian regime forces, Hezbollah militants, and IRGC proxy militias.

Uncertain Allegiances

The involvement of Iran and its Quds Force in attacks on Israel remains a contentious issue. While there are suspicions of Iranian support for groups like Hamas, Tehran has denied direct involvement in attacks on Israel. However, the IRGC has provided arms and assistance to groups targeting Israeli interests in solidarity with Hamas.


Mohammad Reza Zahedi’s death marks a significant loss for the Quds Force and the Iranian military. His legacy as a key figure in Iran’s military history will be remembered for his contributions during times of conflict and his role in supporting Iranian allies in the region. As tensions continue to simmer between Iran and its adversaries, Zahedi’s story serves as a reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by those involved in Middle Eastern geopolitics.

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