A colonel with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was killed by two assassins outside his residence in Tehran on Sunday as the Biden administration continues to attempt negotiations aimed at a new nuclear deal.
Iranian state media reported that Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot five times by the gunmen, who were riding motorbikes. He was in an unarmored Kia Pride, a vehicle manufactured in Iran, and was on a street considered highly secure near the home of the Iranian parliament.
The Revolutionary Guard has disclosed very few details about the daylight-hours attack, other than issuing a statement claiming the killing was the result of “global arrogance.” That term is typically considered code language for Israel and the United States.
The accusatory language brought up claims of a possible link with other motorbike killings that have been attributed to Israel. Some of the attacks targeted Iranian nuclear scientists. No person or entity immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s killing.
Iranian state media only identified Khodaei as a “defender of the shrine.” That reference is normally used to describe Iranians who are part of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds fighting force and who engage in combat against the Islamic State extremist Syrian and Iraqi group. The Quds group normally manages the Revolutionary Guard’s foreign operations.
As Quds officers are normally secretive, little public information has been available about Khodaei. The shadowy force typically supports Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and other loosely organized militias operating in Syria, Iraq, and in other Middle East locations.
Khodaei’s believed prominence in the international operations of the Revolutionary Guard likely led to aggressive investigative work by the state prosecutor in Tehran. Police were demanded to locate and arrest the attackers who killed Khodaei immediately.
Meanwhile, Revolutionary Guard operations have been suffering repeated Israeli air attacks on the ground in Syria. An air strike conducted in the area near the Syrian capital city of Damascus by Israeli forces in March killed two important members of the Revolutionary Guard. That attack led to an Iranian missile attack into northern Iraq in response.
In addition to reporting on Khodaei’s assassination, Iranian state media said that the Revolutionary Guard has recently arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network operating inside Iran. No alleged connection with the Khodaei shooting was reported.