Mohammad Pakpour

Mohammad Pakpour is the internationally designated commander of the Ground Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He holds the rank of brigadier-general.“Issuance of Executive Order of June 24, 2019, “Imposing Sanctions with Respect to Iran;” Iran-related Designations; Counter Terrorism Designations,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 24, 2019, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20190624.aspx; “Mohammad Pakpur,” Iran Watch, November 1, 2010, https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/mohammad-pakpur. Pakpour has led Iranian forces in the Syrian Civil War and claimed Iranian forces will stay in the country as long as the Syrian regime wishes.“Commander Says Iranian Forces Will Stay In Syria As Long As Assad Needs Them,” Radio Farda, May 4, 2017, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/commander-pakpour-says-iranian-forces-will-stay-in-syria-as-long-as-assad-needs-them/28465597.html.

Pakpour fought in the Iranian army during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari promoted Pakpour to commander of the IRGC’s Ground Forces in 2009. Pakpour holds a PhD in political geography from Tehran University.“Part of the new commander of land force records,” asriran, April 29, 2009-May 9, 2009, https://bit.ly/2Gjl00f.

Pakpour has accused the United States of conspiring with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries against Iran. He has also accused the United States and other countries of sponsoring terrorist groups that seek to undermine Iran and the spirit of the revolution.“Enemies Concentrating Plots on Iran: IRGC Commander,” Tasnim News Agency, August 9, 2016, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/08/09/1153397/enemies-concentrating-plots-on-iran-irgc-commander. After Iran shot down an alleged U.S. drone in its airspace in July 2019, Pakpour declared Iran a regional power. He called on Iran to show strength in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions against the country’s nuclear program.“IRGC General: Attacking deep inside enemy line part of IRGC strategy,” International News Agency, July 9, 2019, http://iranpress.com/en/iran-i136464-irgc_general_attacking_deep_inside_enemy_line_part_of_irgc_strategy.

Pakpour has boasted of Iran’s military capabilities and warned the United States against military action. He has labeled Iran an “island of security,”“IRGC Ground Force Equipped with High-Precision Missiles, Drones: Commander,” Tasnim News Agency, November 11, 2019, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/11/11/2138063/irgc-ground-force-equipped-with-high-precision-missiles-drones-commander; “Iran’s War Game Warning Message to Global Arrogance: IRGC Commander,” Tasnim News Agency, February 22, 2017, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/02/22/1336343/iran-s-war-game-warning-message-to-global-arrogance-irgc-commander. while promising a “strong slap in the face” to the United States or any other country that provokes Iran.“Iran: US should be ready for 'strong slap in face,’” Kurdistan 24, February 23, 2017, https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/4328560f-41cb-4891-aa35-d172f54c5f5b. Under Pakpour’s command, the IRGC Ground Forces have helped the IRGC’s Quds Force provide training and equipment to the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to Pakpour, the Ground Forces are in Syria to assist the Quds Force, the expeditionary wing of the IRGC and its primary link to Iran’s terrorist proxies.“Treasury Targets Senior IRGC Commanders Behind Iran’s Destructive and Destabilizing Activities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 24, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm716. Pakpour boasts that Iranian forces will remain in Syria as long as Assad wants.“Commander Says Iranian Forces Will Stay In Syria As Long As Assad Needs Them,” Radio Farda, May 4, 2017, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/commander-pakpour-says-iranian-forces-will-stay-in-syria-as-long-as-assad-needs-them/28465597.html.

Pakpour accuses the United States of misreading conditions in the Middle East, which has led it to make poor decisions in the Syrian theater. Specifically, he chastised the United States in 2013 after U.S. President Barack Obama called Syrian use of chemical weapons a “red line” but then did not take military action after Assad used them that August.“Commander Sees "Miscalculation" as Reason behind US Retreat from Syria War,” Tasnim News Agency, October 2, 2013, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2013/10/02/156539/commander-sees-miscalculation-as-reason-behind-us-retreat-from-syria-war.

U.S. President Donald Trump sanctioned Pakpour with other IRGC officials in June 2019 as part of a series of renewed sanctions on Iran.“Issuance of Executive Order of June 24, 2019, “Imposing Sanctions with Respect to Iran;” Iran-related Designations; Counter Terrorism Designations,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 24, 2019, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20190624.aspx. The United States had previously sanctioned Pakpour for his role in the IRGC and Iran’s nuclear program, but those sanctions were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers.“Who Are the 8 Guards Commanders Sanctioned By U.S.,” Radio Farda, June 25, 2019, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/who-are-the-8-guards-commanders-sanctioned-by-u-s-/30019621.html. The European Union, Australia, Japan, and Canada sanctioned Pakpour in 2010.“Mohammad Pakpur,” Iran Watch, November 1, 2010, https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/mohammad-pakpur. The United States designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in April 2019.“Statement from the President on the Designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” White House, April 8, 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-designation-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps-foreign-terrorist-organization/. Pakpour has condemned U.S. sanctions against the IRGC and Iranian officials as U.S. frustration over the IRGC’s success and U.S. failure in fighting ISIS.Fars News Agency, “Commander: IRGC sanctioned by US for victories against ISIL terrorist group,” Iran Project, October 23, 2017, https://theiranproject.com/blog/2017/10/23/commander-irgc-sanctioned-us-victories-isil-terrorist-group/.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Type(s) of Organization:
Military, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, Khomeinist, Shiite, state actor
Position(s):
Commander of IRGC Ground Forces

The IRGC is an Iranian government agency tasked with defending the regime against internal and external threats. The IRGC uses secret police methods against its opponents within Iran, and terrorist tactics against its enemies abroad.

  • Designations
  • Rhetoric

United States

European Union

  • European Union listed Mohammad Pakpur as a person linked to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems on July 26, 2010.“Mohammad Pakpur,” Iran Watch, November 1, 2010, https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/mohammad-pakpur.

United Kingdom

Australia

Canada

Japan

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