The dying of a senior Iranian army officer at his house in a Tehran suburb per week in the past has fueled conflicting experiences that he fell from a balcony, dedicated suicide or was once killed.
The officer, Col. Ali Esmaelzadeh, died a few week after some other high-ranking officer in the similar unit, Col. Sayad Khodayee, was once killed in a drive-by capturing in Tehran.
Their deaths come amid a brand new wave of heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, which for years have performed a clandestine conflict of sabotage and focused killings.
Each officials have been high-ranking participants of an elite secret detachment of the Islamic Progressive Guards Drive, Unit 840, which Israeli officers say is tasked with killing foreigners out of the country.
Iran blamed Israel for the killing of Colonel Khodayee, the deputy commander of the unit, and Israel informed American officers that it was once in the back of the killing, in line with an intelligence respectable briefed at the communications.
However two senior Israeli protection officers mentioned Friday that Israel didn’t kill Colonel Esmaelzadeh. The officers spoke at the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to talk at the document.
The dying of Colonel Esmaelzadeh was once first reported Thursday via the Saudi-financed, London-based Persian tv channel Iran Global. The file, mentioning nameless resources in Iran, mentioned that Progressive Guards officers suspected Colonel Esmaelzadeh of spying for Israel and staged his suicide.
The New York Instances may now not examine that declare, and Iranian and Israeli officers declined to remark. One respectable Iranian information outlet mentioned that file was once false.
However Iranian information media have introduced conflicting experiences on Colonel Esmaelzadeh’s dying.
Sabreen Information, an outlet affiliated with the Quds Forces, reported Thursday that Colonel Esmaelzadeh died after falling off the balcony of his house in Karaj, Iran, below “suspicious cases.” The file mentioned that investigations have been underway.
Iran’s respectable information company, IRNA, mentioned that Colonel Esmaelzadeh had died after “an coincidence” at his rental, and denied that he have been killed.
A information platform at the Telegram app affiliated with the Guards, Ammariyon, to begin with reported that the colonel have been assassinated, then deleted the file and mentioned he had dedicated suicide via leaping off the balcony.
The Tasnim information company, additionally affiliated with the Guards, reported Friday that Colonel Esmaelzadeh had fallen off the balcony as it didn’t have suitable guard rails, and that the coroner’s place of work had showed the reason for dying.
There have been different abnormal cases surrounding his dying that raised pink flags for some Iranians.
Colonel Esmaelzadeh was once a high-ranking officer in an elite unit, however Iranian information media didn’t file the dying for over per week, till the London-based Iran Global did.
The Progressive Guards have now not issued a observation or introduced public condolences to the circle of relatives, usual process for a fallen officer.
The funeral was once held below a media blackout in a far off village in his local province of Hamedan, in line with fliers for the development posted on social media — now not, as can be normal, at Tehran’s primary cemetery with information protection and officers in attendance.
For 3 days after Colonel Esmaelzadeh’s dying, safety guards swarmed his group in Karaj, in line with an Iranian reporter who was once there and requested to not be known.
The confusion has led some Iranians, together with conservatives, to query the competing narratives.
“Who had the ability to hold out the killing of Colonel Esmaelzadeh and why?” tweeted Attaollah Husseini, a conservative veteran of the militia.
“It’s not possible for IRGC participants, who’re at the trail of martyrdom all their lives, to dedicate suicide,” tweeted Abbas Qaidari, a researcher on Iran protection coverage in Toronto. He added that if the Guards have been suspicious of any individual, they’d arrest and interrogate him. “The clues are somewhere else,” he mentioned.
The deaths of the 2 officials of Unit 840 weren’t the one murky deaths in Iran prior to now two weeks. On Would possibly 25, a drone assault broken an army website online outdoor Tehran the place Iran develops missile, nuclear and drone era, and killed a Protection Ministry engineer.
There was once no declare of accountability for the assault, however it are compatible a trend of earlier Israeli moves.
Iranian officers have pledged to take revenge on Israel for the killing of Colonel Khodayee ultimate month, prompting Israel to warn its voters from touring to nations within the area the place Iran will have operatives.
High Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel mentioned in a speech on Sunday that Iran had performed terrorism via proxies towards Israel for years however that “the technology of immunity for the Iranian regime is over.”
Iran’s deputy international minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, shot again on Friday, telling a reporter in Norway, “The Zionists might best be capable of dream of putting Iran — and if that occurs, it’ll be a dream from which they are going to by no means get up.”