After rumors of a dismissal spread like wildfire online, Fars News Agency confirmed on Thursday that Hossein Taeb, embattled head of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, had “resigned” and been replaced after 13 years.
Newcomer Mohammad Kazemi was appointed to the role on the same day by order of Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards. Taeb himself will stay on as an “advisor” to Salami.
The move came after almost a full week of speculation that Taeb could be sacked. He has a long history of overseeing terrorist operations overseas but recently was named in shock reports, which went global, about plans by the IRGC to assassinate Israeli citizens in Turkey.
In recent years, especially since the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Iranian soil, the poor performance of both the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization and the Ministry of Intelligence – its internal arch-rival – has come under increased scrutiny.
The dearth of information provided by Fars prompted online speculation about what else could have happened. Some suggested there may have been an Israeli plot to assassinate Taeb himself, or else that given the move coincided with the arrival of Sergei Lavrov in Tehran, that Russia might have influenced the decision behind the scenes.