Last week rumors circulated in Iranian media that General Ali Nasiri, a senior commander in the IRGC’s Information Protection Unit, Israeli Spies had been arrested.
It came after a report in the New York Times asserted that several dozen arrests had been made within the Ministry of Defense’s missile development program, on suspicion of leaking classified information.
Some linked the alleged arrest of Nasiri to the dismissal of Hossein Taeb as head of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization the previous week.
Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, wrote that the claims regarding Nasiri were “a repeat of a three-year-old lie”.
True or not, notably this is not the first time reports have surfaced of Nasiri’s arrest during his tenure at the IRGC. Israeli Spies
A Cascade of Reported Arrests in 2019
In April 2019, Nasiri was replaced as head of security by General Fathollah Jamiri. A few days after the handover, a rumor spread through the ranks that the former had been taken into custody.
Nasiri himself denied the reports, insisting that his dismissal was part of a routine organizational reshuffling.
He was then present at the induction ceremony of General Hossein Salami as commander-in-chief on April 24, seemingly putting paid to the allegations.
The real reason for Nasiri’s removal from that position remains unknown.
The IRGC’s security division is responsible for the protection of some high-ranking officials, with the exception of the Supreme Leader, through the Ansar Al-Mahdi Protection Corps, as well as for security at airports and other sensitive sites around the country.
In Iran, the year 2019 – 1398 in the Persian calendar – is widely associated with the nationwide protests that racked the country that November.
But it was also marked by numerous reports that senior IRGC commanders had either been arrested or fled the country. Aside from Nasiri, other well-known names that circulated.