Gholamhossein Gheybparvar is the commander of Iran’s Basij Resistance Force. He was appointed to this position by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in December 2016, replacing longtime Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi.“Leader Appoints New Commander of Basij,” Tasnim News Agency, December 7, 2016, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/12/07/1261346/leader-appoints-new-commander-of-basij. The Basij is the domestic arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), responsible for internal security to protect against perceived threats to the Iranian regime.Ali Alfoneh, “The Basij Resistance Force | The Iran Primer,” United States Institute of Peace, accessed February 27, 2015, http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/basij-resistance-force.
Gheybparvar has been affiliated with the IRGC since 1979, when he joined the group following Iran’s Islamic Revolution. He fought alongside the IRGC in the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, and was placed in charge of training the IRGC’s ground forces in 2000. In October 2015, Gheybparvar traveled to Syria to oversee the IRGC’s brigades there.Arash Karami, “The remilitarization of Iran’s Basij,” Al-Monitor, December 19, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/iran-gholamhossein-gheybparvar-basij-appointment.html.
Gheybparvar was reportedly endorsed by IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari to assume leadership of the Basij.Arash Karami, “The remilitarization of Iran’s Basij,” Al-Monitor, December 19, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/iran-gholamhossein-gheybparvar-basij-appointment.html. According to journalist Arash Karami, Gheybparvar had spent years building a reputation as a regional IRGC commander who was quick to clamp down on dissidents. Upon Gheybparvar’s December 2016 promotion, Ali Khamenei tasked him with organizing Iranian youth, culturally promoting the Basij, strengthening cooperation with other state institutions, and preventing penetration by enemies, according to Iranian media.“سردار «غلامحسین غیب پرور» به ریاست سازمان بسیج منصوب شد,” Mehr News, December 9, 2016, http://www.mehrnews.com/news/3844113/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%BA%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%BA%DB%8C%D8%A8-%D9%BE%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AC-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%B4%D8%AF; “Arash Karami, “The remilitarization of Iran’s Basij,” Al-Monitor, December 19, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/iran-gholamhossein-gheybparvar-basij-appointment.html.
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