Middle East

Iran vows vengeance as it mourns the death of a Guard colonel

TEHRAN, Iran (Transatlantic Today) — Thousands of Iranians came onto the roads of Tehran early Tuesday to offer their tribute to a leading Revolutionary Guard member killed earlier this week by 2 shooters on a motorcycle, throwing punches in the air and yelling “Death to Israel.” 

Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei’s assassination on Sunday resembled earlier fatal shooting incidents in Iran alleged on Israel, including as those attacking the nation’s nuclear scientists. 

No one has claimed accountability for the incident so far. Iranian authorities have blamed Khodaei’s death on “global arrogance,” which is a euphemism for Israel and the United States. 

Mourners screamed anti-Israel and anti-US slogans as the burial convoy wiggled through the biggest Tehran cemetery. A huge banner with tattered British, Israeli, and American flags praised Khodaei as a martyr with Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the senior Iranian officer killed in a US drone attack in Iraq in 2020. 

The banner, which was superimposed with the emblems of the Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad, said, “Iran is a victim of terrorism.” 

The burial was attended by General Esmail Ghaani, head of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force, and Guard commander General Hossein Salami. 

On Monday night, Ghaani paid Khodaei a visit and expressed his condolences. The Iranian nuclear negotiator paid a visit to the murder scene, emphasising the government’s outrage. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised retaliation. According to ABC NEWS, a street in Tehran has been already renamed after the colonel. 

The 50-year-old Khodaei is a mysterious character, with Iran’s only biographical information being that he was a high ranking member of the Quds Force, which controls activities in the Middle East through Iran’s backed militias. He has been dubbed “defender of the shrine” by the Guard, a nod to Iranians who back militias battling the hardline Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

The style of the assassination recalled Israel’s earlier targeted assaults in Iran. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior Iranian nuclear scientist, was killed in a car crash outside of Tehran in November 2020. 

Women wearing black chadors wept and wailed over Khodaei’s casket, an elegant box decorated with flowers and wrapped with the Iranian flag and Shiite mourning symbols. 

According to official media, the attackers who fled are still being pursued by Iranian security personnel. No arrests have been made in connection with the homicide. 

A sandstorm covered Iran, forcing the closure of government offices and schools in the capital.

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