Iran fumes at US ‘assassination’ plot as Revolutionary Guard Colonel shot dead in Tehran

Iraq: US consulate targeted by long range missiles in Erbil

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Revolutionary Guard Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot five times outside of his home in Tehran according to Tasnim News Agency, which has links to the Revolutionary Guard. The colonel was reportedly gunned down by two assailants who fled on motorbike.

Following the attack, it was reported that members of an Israeli intelligence network had been arrested.

The Guard kept quiet on the details of the killing, which occurred during the day in the eastern part of the capital. It blamed the attacks on “global arrogance”, a phrase usually used to refer to Israel and the United States.

In response to the attack, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge and claimed that those defeated on the battlefield by resistance forces were showing frustration, according to Islamic Republic News Agency. The comments likely refer to the conflict in Iraq which has seen some fighting between American troops and Iranian-backed Shia militias.

Mr Raisi said: “I urge security authorities to follow up the issue and I’m of no doubt that seeking revenge on criminals for the blood of the great martyr is definite.”

Nour News Website, which has close ties to the Government in Iran, said the killing had crossed a “red line”.

In a Tweet it said: “The terrorist act in Tehran on Sunday and the martyrdom of Revolutionary Guards Colonel #HassanSayyadKhodaie is crossing the red line without calculation, that is going to change many equations.

“The perpetrators of this crime will pay a heavy price.”

Iran has a history of blaming the US and Israel for attacks on its officials and scientists – Israel has a long-standing policy of neither confirming nor denying its own military operations.

The accusations lead to the possibility of a link between other motorbike killings that have been attributed to Israel. These have targeted Iranian nuclear scientists in the past.

Colonel Khodaie was described as a “defender of the shrine” a reference to the elite Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guard which oversees foreign operations, notably against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Little other public information is available about the colonel, however the Quds forces tend to carry out secret military operations in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon often in conjunction with local militant groups such as Hezbollah.

Tensions between the United States and Iran are nearing a breaking point following periodic strikes against each other in the Middle East.

In 2021, then-president Donald Trump launched an airstrike which killed General Qasem Soliemani, Iran’s top military commander at the time and director of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds force.

In response, Iran struck an American base in Iraq with 12 ballistic missiles. Although no Americans died in the attack, more than 100 were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of multiple concussions.

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In March, Iran attacked the American Consulate in Erbil with ballistic missiles as a retaliation for what it said was an Israeli airstrike in Syria which killed two members of the Revolutionary guard.

It claimed it was targeting an Israeli spy centre there. The US and Israel reported no casualties from that attack.

All of this comes in the midst of stalled talks in Vienna on the Iran Nuclear Deal, which the US pulled out of while Donald Trump was President.

Russia has objected to sanctions imposed due to its invasion of Ukraine and has scuppered any further talks, for the moment, on a new deal.

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