Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, to lead the elite unit, succeeding Qassem Soleimani, who was killed Friday in a U.S. airstrike.

Khamenei said the mission of the Quds Force, which manages Iran’s proxies, “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor.”

Ghaani succeeded Soleimani as deputy commander of the force in 1997 when leader became its chief leader.

Ghaani was quoted by Iranian media as remarking in 2017 that U.S. President Donald Trump’s “threats against Iran will damage America. … We have buried many … like Trump and know how to fight against America.”

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