TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Deputy Chief of the IRGC Quds Force General Muhammad Hejazi has passed away after years of suffering from the effects of chemical weapons used during the Iraqi war of the 1980s on Iran, IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif said Monday.
"This honorable martyr had been exposed to chemical agents during the Sacred Defense and had been suffering from the effects. He also contracted the coronavirus a few months ago, from which he recovered,” Sharif said.
"A medical commission that formed yesterday at Baqiyatallah Hospital identified the cause of the martyrdom as the chemical effects,” he added.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the IRGC said that Gen. Hejazi had achieved the high degree of martyrdom and "joined the ranks of martyrs after years of tireless and sincere efforts in various fields to protect the Islamic Revolution and serve the establishment and the Islamic homeland”.
Gen. Hejazi, 65, was a veteran of the Iraqi war under former dictator Saddam Hussein on Iran, which lasted eight years. After the war, he served as the commander of Iran’s Basij volunteer force for ten years and as the deputy commander of the IRGC for a year.
He was named the deputy commander of the IRGC Quds Force after the former prominent commander of the force, General Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in a US airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020. He replaced Brigadier General Esmail Qa’ani, who was named the new commander of the force.
In the statement, the IRGC congratulated the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Iranian nation, General Hejazi’s family, his comrades in arms in the IRGC and Basij, and fighters of the Resistance Front over his glorious martyrdom, but also extended its condolences on the loss.
The Leader expressed his condolences to Gen. Hejazi’s family, relatives and friends, saying the deceased led a life of tireless efforts and had a "creative intellect” and a "heart full of sincere faith”.
He was "full of motivation and determination, a force completely devoted to Islam and the Revolution,” Ayatollah Khamenei wrote in a message.
"He served in major and influential positions in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and emerged with his head held high and successful in all of them,” the Leader said. "His absence is truly a source of regret and sorrow.”
Gen. Hejazi’s passing also prompted huge outpourings of condolences from top Iranian authorities and commanders, including Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi, Parliament speaker Muhammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Muhammad Baqeri, and Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif.
Raeisi praised Hejazi as a "sincere and faithful commander” who put great efforts to help the Islamic Resistance Front.
"In addition to playing a role in the victory of the Revolution, commanding during the Sacred Defense and organizing the Basij force, General Hejazi was a ‘shining star of the Axis of Resistance,’” Qalibaf wrote in his message.
The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement also expressed his condolences in a message to Ayatollah Khamenei as well as in two separate messages to IRGC Chief Major General Hussein Salami and Brigadier General Qa’ani.
"We are very saddened to hear of the passing of General Hejazi, and that while he was at the peak of his jihad and also when the Axis of Resistance needed his blessed presence,” read Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s letter.
"He was a great brother, a strong and self-sacrificing supporter, a moral example, and an experienced and intellectual person,” the letter added.
President Hassan Rouhani said Gen. Hejazi’s demise was a source of great sorrow. In a message, President Rouhani hailed the general’s record in protecting the values of the Islamic Revolution and serving the country.
"I offer my condolences to the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces, the honorable people of Iran, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and all his admirers, and especially the bereaved family of the deceased,” President Rouhani said.
Zionists Told Their Happiness Will Not Last Long
General Salami said General Hejazi, along with Hezbollah, completed the plan to "defeat the Zionists” and "together with Hezbollah brothers, set the stage for the crushing of the rotten Zionist regime”.
He said the occupying regime of Israel had put him on its terror list and was looking for an opportunity to attack "this great commander of Islam’s front”.
"We tell the Zionists that their happiness will be very brief,” Salami warned. "You will be vanished by the hands of the nation you expelled from their land.”
The IRGC commander further said General Hejazi never took off the uniform of jihad, following the example of Imam Ali (AS), the first Imam of Shia Muslims, who said "whoever takes his jihad clothes off, God will dress him with clothes of disgrace”.