Who is Esmail Qaani, the new Iranian elite force commander?

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The National:

Mr Qaani lacks the flamboyance of predecessor Qassem Suleimani but is just as ideologically committed to his clerical bosses

The new head of Iran’s Quds Force will face an uphill task projecting the same aura of invincibility as his high-profile predecessor did until the US military killed him in Baghdad on Friday.

Hours after the killing of Qassem Suleimani, who mastered propaganda but may have underestimated America, Iran’s clerical leadership appointed his deputy Esmail Qaani as his replacement.

As a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force oversees an array of militant proxies and organises Iran’s operations abroad.

In announcing Mr Qaani’s new role, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said he “has been one of the most prominent commanders in the Holy Defence and has served in the Quds Force with the martyr commander [Qassem Suleimani] in the area for many years.”

The Quds Force’s agenda “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor,” he added.

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