A senior member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps was assassinated in Tehran on Sunday outside his home, according to a statement by the Guards.
The statement identified the man as Col. Sayad Khodayee and said he had fought for years in Syria as part of Iran’s military deployment to “defend the shrine” — a term Iran uses to justify its presence in the war in Syria, and to identify those fighting for the Islamic State. The statement blamed the assassination on foreign “terrorists” affiliated with world powers considered enemies of Iran’s Islamic revolution.
Two assassins on motorcycles approached Colonel Khodayee’s car and fired five bullets, state media reported. Photos show a man in the driver’s seat wearing a seatbelt, bleeding from gunshot wounds and slumped behind the wheel in an Iranian-made Kia Pride. Reports said his wife was the first person to find his body.
Security forces are hunting for the assassins, who escaped, state media reported. The Tehran prosecutor arrived at the scene soon after the attack. The killing took place in daylight on a secure street near Iran’s parliament, according to The Associated Press.
The assassination comes at a time when the Iran nuclear deal is stalemated because the United States has designated the Guards as a terrorist group. Iran has demanded that the terrorist designation be removed as a condition to revive the deal, and Washington has so far refused.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing. But its style echoed previous attacks in Iran by Israel.
In November 2020 a top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakrizadeh, was assassinated while traveling in a car outside Tehran. An American official and two other intelligence officials later said Israel was behind the killing of Mr. Fakrizadeh, who died after a pickup truck laden with explosives detonated in front of his car, which was then sprayed with bullets. The assassination was one in a series targeting Iranian nuclear scientists dating to 2010, which Iran has blamed on Israel.
In August 2020 Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, was shot and killed in Tehran by Israeli operatives on a motorcycle.