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Iran's Supreme Leader Appoints Soleimani's Deputy as Quds Force Chief

© AP Photo / UNCREDITEDIn this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, prays in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, March 27, 2015. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sought Friday to reassure the six world powers conducting nuclear power talks in Switzerland, saying the negotiations remained focused on sealing a deal.
In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, prays in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, March 27, 2015. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sought Friday to reassure the six world powers conducting nuclear power talks in Switzerland, saying the negotiations remained focused on sealing a deal.  - Sputnik International
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Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed near Baghdad Airport earlier in the day in an airstrike authorised by the United States.

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei has appointed Deputy Commander of the Quds Force Esmail Ghaani as the unit's new head following the demise of Qasem Soleimani in the early hours of Friday, Tasnim News Agency reported.

"Following the martyrdom of the glorious General Haj Qasem Soleimani, I name Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement.

According to Khamenei, the force's programme will remain unaltered from the time of Ghaani's predecessor.

The Quds Force is a branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tasked with unconventional warfare, intelligence activities, and extraterritorial operations.

Earlier in the day, the ayatollah declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the killing of General Soleimani in Iraq by US forces.

The supreme leader pledged to exact vengeance on the US for killing Soleimani.

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