Iranian Army Chief Resigns

Published May 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The commander of Iran's armed forces, General Ali Shahbazi, has presented his resignation to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who accepted it, Iranian state radio said Sunday. 

The radio gave no reasons for his resignation, but Shahbazi, who is about 60, had not attended official ceremonies for several months, and Iranian military sources have said he "was suffering from an illness," without elaborating. 

Khamenei, who is commander in chief of the country's armed forces, named General Mohammad Salimi, a career officer in Iran's regular ground army little known to the general public, as his replacement, the radio said. 

In his letter of appointment, Khamenei asked Salimi to give a new impulse to the development of the country's armed forces. 

Shahbazi, had been in the post since 1998. He took an active part as a commander in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and was made deputy commander of the armed forces at the end of the conflict. 

He was regarded as close to Khamenei, as well as to former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and to current reformist President Mohammad Khatami. 

He had several times recently publicly expressed support for the president. Rumours circulated in Iran last month that the army could step in to end the political crisis between Khatami and the republic's conservatives – TEHRAN (AFP)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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