Last week, the Iranian government fired Hossein Taeb, the IRGC’s long-time intelligence chief and a close ally of the mullahs’ leader Ali Khamenei and his son Mojtaba.Taeb, a notorious criminal, was removed from his position after 13 years, shortly after several assassinations of IRGC commanders inside Iran and hundreds of Iranian Resistance operations aimed at dismantling the regime’s oppressive apparatus, such as the recent takedown of Tehran’s municipality and the city’s CCTVs.
The revelation of Taeb’s dismissal came as a bombshell and revealed the severity of the internal crisis within the regime. Due to his close friendship with Khamenei and his involvement in the repression of dissidents, he was regarded as “untouchable.”
But who is Hossein Taeb?
Tehran is where Taeb was born in 1963. Soon after the revolution of 1979, he enlisted in the IRGC. Taeb was a key figure in the 1980s hunt, torture, and execution of Iranian dissidents, primarily members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Taeb was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Due to his brutality, Taeb advanced in the IRGC and was given the position of intelligence chief of the organization’s first brigade, known as “Thar-Allah.”
Ruhollah Khomeini, the regime’s then-supreme leader, was forced to accept a ceasefire in 1988 as a result of domestic and international pressure. Taeb and other IRGC commanders grew wealthy off of the unpatriotic Iran-Iraq war. As a result, when it was over, these thugs who knew nothing but murder—took control of Iran’s social and economic affairs.
Taeb was appointed by the regime’s then-president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to lead the Ministry of Intelligence and Security’s “anti-espionage” deputy (MOIS). Taeb was a key player in the “chain murders” that Ali Fallahian, the then-minister of intelligence, ordered in the 1990s. Numerous Iranian intellectuals both inside and outside of Iran were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by MOIS agents during that incident.
In 1994, the shrine of Imam Reza in the north-eastern city of Mashhad was bombed, resulting in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of pilgrims. In order to demonize the MEK within Iran and brand it a terrorist organization, the regime carried out the bombing but claimed responsibility for it on the MEK and demanded that western nations exert pressure on them.
Taeb’s Path to the Intelligence of the IRGC
Taeb was named the deputy coordinator of Mojtaba Khamenei’s office, or “Beyt,” not long after he was fired from the MOIS. After serving for three years as the IRGC’s cultural deputy, he later assumed the position of Imam Hussain University’s president. Beginning the creation of a “parallel” intelligence agency were Mojtaba and Taeb. They established the IRGC’s intelligence division, which later developed into the regime’s most potent security force. Taeb took part in suppressing the students’ movement while working in Khamenei’s office in the late 1990s, killing and detaining dozens of Iranian university students.
The 2009 Protests and Taeb
After the regime announced the outcomes of its fake presidential elections in 2009, protests broke out. In just a few hours, the streets were filled with people chanting anti-regime chants. Taeb organized the regime’s forces and began a brutal crackdown on protesters while serving as the militia’s head at the time. Dozens of people were killed, hurt, or imprisoned.
IRGC Intelligence and Taeb
Taeb left Basij in September 2009 and assumed leadership of the IRGC intelligence. The IRGC Intelligence Organization (IRGC-IO) gained notoriety for its involvement in the repression of protesters. The MOIS tried in vain to save its face after the assignment of some nuclear scientists, but the IRGC-IO grew stronger and took over the MOIS’s primary responsibilities. Some of these duties included protecting regime officials and powerful individuals and fending off Iranian dissidents. During the protests in November 2019, the IRGC-IO was a significant factor in the deaths of protesters.
The damage the MEK and its “Resistance Units” did to the regime’s security apparatus, however, is the untold story of Taeb’s dismissal. The mission of IRGC-IO was to find and stop MEK members and their activities. But the growing number of Resistance Unit activities, including the destruction of key government institutions and ministries, raids on IRGC and Basij bases, and torching of mullahs’ symbols like the enormous statue of Khamenei’s top terrorist Qassem Soleimani, showed how unprepared the IRGC-IO was to deal with the MEK threat.
This terrorist group has been actively involved in the regime’s terrorist attacks abroad, including the attempt at the Iranian Resistance rally in France in 2018 to bomb the event that was thwarted.