Iran will avenge the killing of a Revolutionary Guards colonel who was shot lifeless in Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi warned on Monday.
Assailants on bikes on Sunday hit Colonel Sayyad Khodai with 5 bullets as he sat in his automotive outdoors his dwelling.
Iran blamed “parts linked to the worldwide vanity” — the Islamic republic’s time period for its arch enemy the USA and US allies together with Israel.
It was probably the most high-profile killing inside Iran because the November 2020 homicide of high nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Raisi mentioned: “I insist on the intense pursuit (of the killers) by safety officers, and I’ve little doubt that the blood of this nice martyr can be avenged.
“There isn’t a doubt that the hand of world vanity might be seen on this crime,” he added, echoing the Guards’ assertion, earlier than he travelled to Oman the place he was to fulfill Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.
A service for Khodai was held Monday, throughout which his physique was briefly laid at a memorial to “martyrs” in Tehran, as folks gathered to bid the colonel farewell.
A few of the attendees reportedly shouted “dying to America, dying to Israel”, Mehr information company mentioned, whereas footage circulated of his physique shrouded in a white material, together with his face uncovered.
The funeral will happen at 8:00 am (0330 GMT) on Tuesday in Imam Hossein Sq. in central Tehran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp mentioned in an announcement.
The ideological arm of Iran’s army, the Guards described Khodai as a “defender of the sanctuary”, a time period used for individuals who work on behalf of Iran in Syria or Iraq.
Iran maintains important political affect in each international locations and has backed President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria’s grinding civil struggle.
State tv famous that Khodai was “identified” in Syria, the place Iran has acknowledged deploying “army advisers”.
The official information company IRNA mentioned Khodai was killed by 5 bullets as he returned dwelling Sunday at round 4:00 pm.
The company revealed footage exhibiting a person slumped over within the driver’s seat of a white automotive, with blood across the collar of his blue shirt and on his proper arm. He was strapped in together with his seat belt, and the entrance window on the passenger facet had been shot out.
The Fars information company reported that the state prosecutor had visited the scene of the killing and ordered the “fast identification and arrest of the authors of this legal act”.
The Guards mentioned that they had arrested a number of “thugs linked to the intelligence company of the Zionist regime,” as Iran calls its enemy Israel.
An announcement mentioned the suspects had been concerned in a sequence of crimes, together with “robberies, kidnappings and vandalism”.
“The scale of this assassination are being investigated,” mentioned the spokesman for the joint chiefs of employees of the Iranian armed forces, Common Abolfazl Shakarji.
Khodai’s killing got here as negotiations between Iran and world powers to revive a frayed 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since March.
One of many principal sticking factors is Tehran’s demand to take away the Guards from a US terrorism record — a request rejected by Washington.
The 2015 settlement gave Iran sanctions aid in change for curbs on its nuclear programme to stop Tehran from creating an atomic bomb — one thing it has at all times denied eager to do.
However the nuclear settlement was left hanging by a thread after then US president Donald Trump pulled out of it unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed biting financial sanctions on Tehran, prompting Iran to start rolling again by itself commitments.