Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani is a Specially Designated National by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force (IRGC-QF), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization responsible for Iran’s proxy conflicts in the Middle East.“Anti-Terrorism Designations,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 27, 2012, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20120327.aspx; Zachary Cohen, Hamdi Alkhshali, Arwa Damon and Kareem Khadder, “US drone strike ordered by Trump kills top Iranian commander in Baghdad,” CNN, January 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/02/middleeast/baghdad-airport-rockets/index.html. The IRGC-QF has played an active role in providing training and weapons to extremist groups including Iraqi insurgents, Lebanese Hezbollah, and others.Dexter Filkins, “The Shadow Comander,” New Yorker, September 23, 2013, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/30/the-shadow-commander. Following the death of former IRGC leader, Qasem Soleimani—who was killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020—Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, quickly appointed Ghaani as Soleimani’s replacement.Tara John, Julia Hollingsworth and Rob Picheta, “Iran's top general Soleimani killed in US drone strike,” CNN, January 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/baghdad-airport-strike-live-intl-hnk/index.html.
Upon Ghaani’s appointment, Khamenei described him as “one of the most distinguished Revolutionary Guard commanders.”“Khamenei Appoints Hardliner General to Replace Soleimani,” Radio Farda, January 3, 2020, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/khamenei-appoints-hardliner-general-to-replace-soleimani/30358646.html. Ghaani fought in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, leading the Nasr-5 and Imam Reza-21 brigades.Zehra Nur Duz, “Iran’s supreme leader names new commander of Quds Force,” Anadolu Agency, January 3, 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iran-s-supreme-leader-names-new-commander-of-quds-force/1691311. A close aide and confidante to Soleimani, Ghaani served as an intelligence official in the IRGC-QF and was the deputy commander of the unit for more than 20 years.“Khamenei Appoints Hardliner General to Replace Soleimani,” Radio Farda, January 3, 2020, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/khamenei-appoints-hardliner-general-to-replace-soleimani/30358646.html.
On March 27, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury listed Ghaani as a Specially Designated National for his role in overseeing financial disbursements and weapons shipments to Hezbollah and IRGC-QF elements in both the Middle East and Africa, particularly the Gambia.“Treasury Targets Iranian Arms Shipments,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 27, 2012, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1506.aspx.
Date of Birth
August 8, 1957
Place of birth
Place of residence
Ghaani is known for his criticism of Israel and the United States, and is an influential Iranian figure in Syria, where he is considered one of the key figures in Iran’s involvement in Syria’s civil war.“Khamenei Appoints Hardliner General to Replace Soleimani,” Radio Farda, January 3, 2020, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/khamenei-appoints-hardliner-general-to-replace-soleimani/30358646.html.
Ismail Ghaani 2017
Referring to Iran’s intervention in the Iraq war to supply Shiite militias against American troops:
“Americans have suffered more losses from us then we have suffered losses from them…America, under the pretext of Sept. 11 attacks, which it carried out itself, invaded Afghanistan and mobilized young Muslims and deployed them to Afghanistan so that they can later attack Iran.”Rowan Scarborough, “Iranian general boasts of Quds Force killing U.S. troops in Iraq,” Washington Times, August 2, 2017, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/2/ismail-ghaani-iranian-general-boasts-of-quds-force/.
Ismail Ghaani 2017
Warning U.S. President Donald Trump Against Conflict With Iran:
“We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted…Trump’s threats against Iran will damage America…We have buried many…like Trump and know how to fight against America.”David Brennan, “Who Will Replace Qassem Soleimani? Esmail Ghaani Appointed Hours After U.S. Drone Strike,” Newsweek, January 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/1qassem-soleimani-esmail-ghaani-appointed-us-drone-strike-1480225.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury listed “Esmail Ghani” as a Specially Designated National on March 12, 2012.“Treasury Targets Iranian Arms Shipments,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 27, 2012, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1506.aspx.
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