(Quds Force) Who Is Quds Force Chief Esmail Qaani? (Erfan Fard, BESA Center)

Shortly after the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020, the Iranian Supreme Leader announced that Soleimani would be succeeded by his deputy in Afghanistan, Esmail Qaani. Qaani is a somewhat enigmatic figure, as he served for years in Soleimani’s shadow. He is known, however, to be a religious extremist and an avowed enemy of the US and Israel. His main mission is to expand Iran’s ballistic missiles program and strengthen Shiite militia groups across the Middle East.