1. Gholamreza Soleimani
As head of the paramilitary Basij force, Soleimani has overseen quelling any dissent against the Islamic regime through brutal force. Currently, the Basij are beating, arresting, and torturing Iranians throughout the country using live ammunition against men and women peacefully protesting. In April 2021, Soleimani was sanctioned by the Council of the European Union over his violent orders to quell Iranian protests in 2019. In December of that year, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned the Basij general for his terrorist activities, blocking his financial assets.
2. Esmail Qaani
With protests increasing in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi have instructed members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to help security forces crackdown on protesters. Leaders from the IRGC, like Esmail Qaani, head of the group’s Quds Force, have emphasized their support for the regime, calling for swift action against the Iranian people. After the death of IRGC Quds force leader Qasem Soleimani by the Trump administration, Qaani became the new head of the terrorist military force, promising to uphold the Islamic revolution of the Ayatollahs against foreign and domestic enemies. Qaani, like Soleimani, has obeyed the regime’s orders to help crackdown against protesters on the streets, deploying members of the guards and Basij forces to beat, arrest, and kill citizens on the streets.
3. Mohammad Bagheri
Mohamad Bagheri serves as the Chief of Staff for the armed forces in the Islamic Republic, holding the rank of major general. As Major General, Bagheri has collaborated with Iranian officials in the IRGC, engaging in foreign attacks against American and Israeli forces and aiding the regime in its crackdown against Iranian dissidents. Bagheri has strengthened the regime’s footprint in Iran’s Armed Forces, enlisting and indoctrinating young soldiers to dedicate their lives to upholding the mullahs’ rule. Currently, the U.S. and Canada have levied sanctions against Bagheri over the regime’s brutal response to the protests in Iran.
4. Shahram Irani
In continuing to spread its tentacles everywhere throughout the world amidst protests in the streets, the regime has relied heavily on its small naval forces to create terrorism in the Persian Gulf against American, Arab, and Israeli interests. The current commander of the Iranian Navy, Shahram Irani, has helped the regime’s efforts in the Persian Gulf, deploying new technology and modernizing the Islamic fleet with help from Russia and China. Since his appointment in 2021, Irani has upgraded and enhanced the power of the Islamic Republic’s navy, allowing the IRGC to spread terrorism on the seas.
5. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari
From the early beginnings of the protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, hardliner lawmakers within the Iranian parliament, like former IRGC Commander Mohammad Esmail Kowsari immediately threatened security forces of consequences if they “do not fulfill their duties” and crackdown on protests. Before becoming a member of parliament, Kowsari was a member of the IRGC and oversaw Tehran’s security for many years, was a vocal supporter of the regime and voiced opposition against any reform to the current Islamic system. Today, Kowsari, like many other current and former Islamic officials, is rallying support in favor of Khamenei and Raisi, calling for more military action against peaceful protests.