Several of these officers, including AFGS Intelligence Director Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Operations Director Brigadier General Ali Shamdani, Strategic Planning Director Major General Mostafa Izadi, and Senior Adviser Brigadier General Morteza Ghorbani, are part of what has been described as the IRGC Command Network.
The placement of so many Command Network members in senior AFGS positions demonstrates a principal method for the Iranian leadership to mitigate concerns about Artesh loyalty and incorporate the more traditional military elements into the regime's ideologically based governance structures.
The IRGC retains a degree of autonomy from the AFGS in its operations as a result of both the special relationship its commanders have with the supreme leader and the role it plays in protecting the regime and exporting Iran's influence and revolutionary ideals abroad.
Notably, Rezai's recent return to military duty could be seen as a presumed bid for the AFGS chairmanship--hence his absence from Bagheri's inauguration ceremony after being passed over yet again.
Ali Abdollahi, as AFGS deputy for interoperability and coordinating affairs, replacing a decorated Artesh veteran, Maj.
In his first press release as AFGS chairman, he called for the "liberation" of all Muslim lands.