As Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Intelligence Organization (IRGC IO), Mohammad Kazemi (Kazemi) oversees one of the regime’s most brutal security services with a long record of internal repression. Since becoming Commander of the IRGC IO in June 2022, Kazemi has overseen a heightened crackdown on civil society across the country. Recently, the IRGC IO has broadened its scope, and is responsible for thwarting perceived political subversion, coordinating and managing the repression of protests, surveilling and throttling the use of the internet, and arresting dissidents. The IRGC and its Basij militia have used lethal force against protesters and is an essential element of the regime’s aggressive use of violence against the Iranian people.
Khiabani is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC.
On June 23, Hossein Salami, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief, appointed the IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Kazemi as the new chief of the IRGC Intelligence Organization.
Hossein Taeb, the former commander of the IRGC-IO, was booted from his position after 13 years, following a series of assassinations of the IRGC’s commanders and numerous operations by the Iranian Resistance Units against the regime’s centers of oppression. Sacking Taeb, a confidant of the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his son Mojtaba reveals the depths of what Khamenei describes as the “crisis of infiltration” in the regime’s security apparatus.
Since its foundation in 2009, the IRGC-IO has been under Khamenei’s direct supervision, operating as a parallel security organization to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). According to the regime’s constitution, a mullah should be the Minister of intelligence. Thus, Khamenei appointed Taeb as the IRGC-IO chief. But he was forced to dismiss him despite the fact that he controlled a vast intelligence apparatus.
Taeb proved his loyalty to Khamenei by crushing domestic dissent at home and exporting terrorism abroad. But when the vast scope of assassinations by the regime’s foreign adversaries and the operations by the Iranian Resistance mounted, Khamenei recognized the faltering state of the IRGC-IO. To end the “crisis of infiltration,” he appointed Kazemi as the IRGC-IO new chief. But who is Kazemi?
Before being appointed as the new head of the IRGC-IO, Mohammad Kazemi was not a public figure. He has been in charge of the IRGC’s Intelligence and Information Protection Unit since 2009. This unit acts as the IRGC’s counterintelligence organization and is responsible for identifying spies and fighting infiltration in the regime’s security apparatus. So, the organization operates in shadow. Therefore, Kazemi is not a public figure. Yet, he is very close to Khamenei and deeply trusted by him.
Kazemi had tried to prevent the leaking of confidential information outside the IRGC while in charge of the political-security surveillance of the IRGC commanders and its personnel.
According to the information obtained by the Iranian Resistance, Kazemi is considered the IRGC’s highest official. He vets all the IRGC commanders and approves all missions. Even Khamenei’s Chief of Staff, Mohammadi Golpayegani, and his closest colleague, Vahid Haghani, are not allowed to make any changes in the regime’s security apparatus without Kazemi’s consent.
Khamenei directly appoints commanders of this organization through the IRGC’s commander in chief.
“Mohammad Kazemi has been in charge of the IRGC secret box. Khamenei’s emphasis on preventing the enemies’ ‘infiltration,’ offers some insight into his appointment,” the state-run Iran Dideban wrote on June 23.
Kazemi will focus on countering espionage and crushing any voice of dissent inside the IRGC
Human Rights Abuse
Also Known As:
(Arabic: محمد کاظمی)
11 Jul 1961
Sistan and Baluchistan
Reason for the color:
» Added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on October 26, 2022 pursuant to Executive Order 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC;