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Iran’s supreme leader appoints new chief for country’s air force

Khamenei formally names Hamid Vahedi to post he has been heading since 2018; commander is pilot of Russian fighter jets

Then-deputy commander of Iran's army air force Gen. Hamid Vahedi chants slogan during a meeting of army's air force and air defense staff with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, on February 7, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Then-deputy commander of Iran's army air force Gen. Hamid Vahedi chants slogan during a meeting of army's air force and air defense staff with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, on February 7, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s top leader has appointed a pilot of Russian fighter jets to command the nation’s air force, state television reported Sunday.

It said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s choice for the role is Air Force Brig. Gen. Hamid Vahedi.

Vahedi, 56, trained on a simulator for a Sukhoi-24, a Russian fighter jet, from 2000 to 2001. He has worked as the acting commander of the air force since 2018.

As commander, Vahedi succeeds F-14 Tomcat pilot Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh.

The country’s air force has both Russian and American-made made jet fighters in service.

The change is part of a routine replacement of army commanders.

Last month, Khamenei appointed a new chief for the country’s navy.

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