Death Of Another IRGC Colonel Inside Iran Raises Eyebrows – Analysis

The killing and Death of a senior officer in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in broad daylight in the capital, Tehran, is rare.

But the deaths of two senior members of the IRGC, the elite branch of Iran’s armed forces, inside the Islamic republic in the space of two weeks is unprecedented and has raised eyebrows.

Iran’s official government news agency, IRNA, reported the death of Ali Esmailzadeh on June 3. IRNA said the IRGC colonel died in an accident and authorities had launched an investigation.

The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency said Esmailzadeh “died after falling from a terrace in his house” in the city of Karaj, near Tehran, around a week ago.

The reports by Iran’s state-controlled media came hours after the London-based Iran International television station reported that Esmailzadeh had been assassinated by Iranian intelligence over suspicions that he was involved in the May 22 killing of another IRGC colonel.

Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodaei was killed by gunmen outside his home in Tehran. Iranian authorities blamed regional foe Israel for the killing and vowed revenge.

Tehran offered little information about Khodaei. Israeli media reported that he headed a unit of the IRGC’s overseas arm, the Quds Force, that planned attacks on Israelis abroad.

Iran International reported that Esmailzadeh was a “close colleague” of Khodaei. Following Khodaei’s killing, Iranian intelligence investigated possible security leaks inside the IRGC and “became suspicious of Esmailzadeh and decided to eliminate him,” it added, citing unnamed sources.

Iran International added that Iranian intelligence made his alleged assassination look like a suicide.

IRGC officials told Esmailzadeh’s family that he took his own life “due to psychological problems caused by his separation from his wife” and that he had left a suicide note, it added.

IRNA, quoting an unnamed source, dismissed Iran International’s report, and described it as “false news.”

Iran International is funded by a firm with close ties to the Saudi Arabian government, another of Tehran’s regional rivals, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

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