Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has picked his defense minister: A former militia commander who plotted the 1983 the U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. personnel.
Hossein Dehghan is currently the chairman of the political, defense, and security committee of the Expediency Council, a powerful group of advisors around Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Tehran Times, which describes itself as the “voice” of the Iranian Islamic revolution.
The nomination, like that of all Iran’s new cabinet, must be approved by the parliament or Majlis, which is expected this week.
A brief report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, written by retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Shimon Shapira, gives further details of Dehghan’s biography, including the fact that he “spent his entire military career” in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a government militia charged with exporting Iran’s brand of extremist Shiite Islam.
He joined the IRGC in 1979 at the ager of 22 and until 1982 was the militia’s commander in Tehran, writes Mr. Shapira. But in that year, after Israel invaded Lebanon, sparking a decade-long civil war, Mr. Dehghan was sent to Lebanon to help establish a military wing for Hezb’Allah, the Iranian-backed Shi’ite political movement.
The following year he was appointed the commander of IGRC forces in Lebanon. Shortly afterwards, the IGRC received orders from Tehran to attack multinational peacekeeping forces in Beirut.
On October 25, 1983, a Shi’ite suicide attacker detonated a truck bomb at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241; simultaneously, another suicide bomber blew up the French paratroopers’ barracks in Beirut, killing 58 soldiers.
“The order to carry out the attacks was transmitted, and the funding and operational training provided, with the help of the Revolutionary Guard in Lebanon under the command of Hossein Dehghan,” writes Mr. Shapira.
• Shaun Waterman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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