TEHRAN, Iran – A senior member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards was killed by unknown gunmen on a motorbike outside his home in Tehran on Sunday, state TV reported.
That allegation, as well as the style of unprovoked attack, raised the possibility of a link with other motorbike killings blamed on Israel in Iran, as pointed out by the country’s nuclear scientists.
The two assailants shot Col. Hassan Sayed Khodayari five times in his unarmed Iranian-made Kia Pride, state media reported, right next to a house on a very safe street in Iran’s parliament.
The report identifies Khodayari only as a “guardian of the shrine,” referring to Iranians who are fighting extremist Islamic State groups in Syria and Iraq, and members of the Guard’s elite Quds Force overseeing foreign operations.
Very little is known about Khodayari, as Quds officers continue to be a shadow figure in conducting secret military missions supporting Hezbollah, Lebanese militant groups and political parties, and other militias in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Tehran’s prosecutor arrived at the scene within hours of the murder to investigate and called on police to arrest the perpetrators immediately. The speed of the investigation suggests Khodayari’s specialty in the obscure structure of the Guard’s foreign operations.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Security forces were pursuing the suspected attackers, state TV reported, without giving further details or the motive for the killing.
At the same time, state-run media reported that Revolutionary Guards security forces had uncovered and arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network operating in the country without elaborating on whether they had anything to do with Khodayari’s assassination.