Armed Forces General Staff and Khatam Al-Anbiya Central Headquarters
Towards the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran started a reorganization of its armed forces. It established the Armed Forces General Staff in 1988 to spearhead coordination between Iran’s two militaries—its regular army (Artesh) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). AFGS is known as the most senior military body in Iran, which implements policy and coordinates and monitors activities across services—namely Artesh and the IRGC. Khatam Al-Anbiya Central Headquarters (KACHQ)’s role is to coordinate military operations and is responsible for operational command and control. In 2016, AFGS underwent a reorganization, where KACHQ was separated from AFGS. The supreme leader is the constitutional commander-in-chief, and Iran’s two militaries report directly to him through the AFGS and the Khatam Al-Anbiya Central Headquarters.
Traditionally the chief of staff of AFGS has been a close associate of Iran’s supreme leader—Hassan Firouzabadi, the first chief of staff, served in the position for decades, despite his lack of formal military experience, owing his position to unflinching loyalty to the supreme leader. His replacement was Mohammad Bagheri, an IRGC officer, who assumed command in 2016. Gholamali Rashid, also an IRGC officer who previously served as a deputy chief of staff of the AFGS, is the commander of KACHQ and assumed his post as well in 2016.