Former F-14 pilot named new Iran air force chief
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Former F-14 pilot named new Iran air force chief

Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh, veteran of Iran-Iraq war, has been acting head of air force since 2017

In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo, Iranian soldiers take a picture with a Winnie the Pooh character next to a F-14 fighter jet in an exhibition of achievements and equipment of Iran's air force in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo, Iranian soldiers take a picture with a Winnie the Pooh character next to a F-14 fighter jet in an exhibition of achievements and equipment of Iran's air force in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s top leader has appointed a new chief for its air force, state-run media reported Sunday.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh as the new air force chief, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Nasirzadeh, a former F-14 Tomcat pilot and veteran of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, has been the air force’s acting commander since 2017. He succeeds Gen. Hassan Shahsafi, who has held the post since 2008.

The appointment comes as part of a routine reshuffle of army commanders.

Illustrative photo: US-made F-4 Phantom fighter jets from the Iranian air force. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI)

Iran began purchasing dozens of F-14 Tomcats from the US in 1976. The country’s air force has both American and Russian-made fighter jets in service.

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, many Iranian pilots received their training in the US.

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