TEHRAN -- Former Iranian armed forces chief General Hassan Firouzabadi has passed away of coronavirus aged 70, it was announced on Friday.
Chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) General Hussein Salami praised Firouzabadi’s “continuous efforts” to defend “the sacred system of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
A trained doctor, Gen. Firouzabadi joined the Basij volunteer force during the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s war of 1980-88 on Iran.
Gen. Salami said General Firouzabadi’s sincere and wise efforts during Iraq’s imposed war on Iran and the years he served as the chief of staff will pave the way for the proud Iranian armed forces.
Serving in administrative roles, he swiftly rose up its ranks before being named head of the armed forces in September 1989 by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, remaining in the post until 2016.
Iran’s armed forces chief has authority over both the regular army and the IRGC.
That made Gen. Firouzabadi one of the main architects of Iranian support for Baghdad and Damascus in their battles against Daesh and other terrorist groups.
Replaced by Gen. Muhammad Hussein Baqeri at the head of the armed forces, Gen. Firouzabadi then served as Ayatollah Khamenei’s military adviser until his passing away.
He also served as a member of Iran’s Expediency Council, a legislative body tasked with settling disputes between the administrative government and the parliament in Iran, among other things.
The Fars news agency reported that he died after contracting Covid-19.
Both Gen. Baqeri and Gen. Salami expressed their condolences to Ayatollah Khamenei, the late general’s bereaved family and the commanders and personnel of the Iranian armed forces, and wished them patience to overcome his absence.