Esmail Qaani

Full name: Esmail Qaani Akbar Nezhad

Function: Quds Force Deputy Commander

DOB: 8 August 1957

Born in Bonjourd in the north of the Khorasan province (about 250 km north of Mashhad).

Passport number: D9003033, D9008347

Qaani has been in the IRGC since 1982. He fought and was wounded in the Iran-Iraq war. When the war ended, he was appointed commander of the Nasr Division. Around 1992, Qaani was involved in suppressing the unrest in the Mashhad area.

In the mid-1990s, Qaani was appointed head of the Quds Force regional corps responsible for Afghanistan and Pakistan (the Ansar Corps). As part of his job, he commanded the Force's special operations against Afghanistan.

Since the late 1990s, he has served as deputy commander of the Quds Force in parallel with other positions, including as head of the Quds Force information security division.

Qaani is one of 24 senior IRGC officials that wrote to President Khatami in July 1999, accusing him of mishandling student demonstrations at Tehran University and demanding determined action against the demonstrators.

Since May 2006, Qaani has served exclusively as the deputy commander of the Quds Force. As part of his job, he is involved in all Quds Force activity and frequently deals with smuggling weapons and money to militant groups, including terror elements in Afghanistan, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and elsewhere. Qaani was also involved in smuggling weapons to elements in the Gambia, as was exposed in Nigeria in October 2010. Qaani also admitted in an interview to the ISNA news agency in May 2012 that Iran was helping the Syrian regime in its fight against the insurgents.

Qaani is considered to have extensive ties in the IRGC and is valued by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The U.S. Treasury has imposed sanctions on Qaani for his involvement in terror, including his involvement in smuggling weapons and money transfers to terror organizations worldwide.

For additional details on Qaani, see an article by Ali Alfoneh, who carries out research on the IRGC, entitled: "Esmail Qaani: the next Revolutionary Guard Quds Force Commander".