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Jun 28, 10:06 AM EDT

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's supreme leader has chosen a Revolutionary Guard general to serve as chief of staff of the armed forces.

State TV reported Tuesday that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, a 55-year-old veteran of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, to the post. He replaces Gen. Hassan Firuzabadi, who held the post for the past 14 years. Bagheri was previously the deputy chief of staff.

Bagheri's older brother died in the Iran-Iraq war, which claimed the lives of 1 million people on both sides.

The Revolutionary Guard is an elite force separate from the regular army, and is charged with defending the Islamic Republic.

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