Iran's supreme leader appointed the deputy commander of the Quds Force, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, as the replacement for Qassem Soleimani, the former head of the elite force who was killed in a U.S. air strike on Friday, state media reported.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement that program of the Quds Force, the military unit responsible for projecting Iran's influence via proxies across the Middle East, "will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor."
Ghaani became deputy commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, in 1997 when Soleimani became the Force's chief commander.
Ghaani was quoted by Iranian media as saying in 2017 that U.S. President Donald Trump's "threats against Iran will damage America ... We have buried many ... like Trump and know how to fight against America."
Soleimani was one of the most prominent and influential military figures in Iran today. He was involved in Iranian military activity in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus states, and was considered one of the people closest to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.
Iranian Supreme Khamenei said Friday the assassination of Soleimani would double the motivation of the resistance against the United States and Israel, state television reported.
"All enemies should know that the jihad of resistance will continue with a doubled motivation, and a definite victory awaits the fighters in the holy war," Khamenei said in a televised statement, in which he called for three days of national mourning.