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Iran says IRGC colonel assassinated in Tehran

Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari (Screenshot/Twitter)
May 23, 2022

A colonel in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) was assassinated on Sunday afternoon in Tehran, the IRGC revealed.

According to the Tasnim news agency, two people on a motorcycle shot and killed Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari in front of his home, Reuters reported.

Graphic photos shared on Twitter purportedly show Khodayari in his car after he was shot.

“Before and after. A dead terrorist is the best terrorist. #IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari was killed this morning outside of his home,” tweeted Bryan E. Leib. [Warning: Graphic photos below]

Another Iranian news agency claimed that the assassination was conducted by members of the Israeli intelligence service agency Mossad. The Israeli Prime Minister’s office, which manages the intelligence service, declined to comment on the assassination.  

“The sworn enemies of the holy system of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again showed their evil nature with the assassination and martyrdom of one of the members of the IRGC troops,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Khodayari, who was based in Syria, helped plan attacks on Jews and Israelis around the world.

The IRGC said the attack was a “criminal terrorist act of the counter-revolution and elements related to global arrogance.”

Echoing the Revolutionary Guard’s assessment, the Iranian Nour News Agency argued the slaying “changes many equations” and asserted that the people responsible for the colonel’s death would “pay a heavy price.”

Hossein Dalirian, an Iranian military journalist, tweeted that “Mossad’s field agents still seem to be involved.”

In March, a Reuters report revealed that the Biden administration was considering removing the IRGC from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) as part of ongoing negotiations to restart the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The administration removed five organizations from the list last week, though IRGC was not among them.

A source close to the ongoing negotiations told Reuters in March that officials within the Biden administration were considering dropping the IRGC’s terrorist designation in exchange for commitments from Iran to reign in the group. Reuters’ source said the Biden administration hadn’t decided on what would be acceptable commitments from Iran in exchange for such a move.

The Trump administration added the IRGC to the State Department’s FTO list in April 2019. The administration cited the IRGC’s support for terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East, including ones that have targeted U.S. citizens. The Trump administration assessed IRGC supported proxies have killed 603 U.S. service members in the region from 2003 to 2011. In September 2018, a U.S. federal court also found Iran and the IRGC liable for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 Americans.