File Photo: Deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Mohammad Hejazi attending a ceremony to unveil Iran's new medium range anti-aircraft air defence system Mersad (Ambush) in Tehran taken on April 11, 2010. AFP
A high-ranking general key to Iran's security apparatus has died, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Sunday.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi, who died at 65, served as deputy commander of the Quds, or Jerusalem, force of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The unit is an elite and influential group that oversees foreign operations, and Hejazi helped lead its expeditionary forces and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
Born in 1956 in the city of Isfahan, Hejazi joined the Guard after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and came to lead the paramilitary Basij volunteer corps for a decade _ a tenure that saw the force transform into a pillar of the country's security and political apparatus.
Hejazi took up the position of deputy commander of the Quds Force in April of last year after leading the Guard's paramilitary forces in Lebanon. Iranian media reported that he joined forces fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Guard statement said he died of heart disease, without providing any further details.