Iranian government and IRGC media have confirmed the death of a Quds Force colonel after Iran International reported the suspicious incident on Thursday.
Iran’s official government news website IRNA reacted to the news saying that Col. Ali Esmailzadeh died “in an incident in recent days” at his home without mentioning any details. It added that an investigation is in progress, quoting “an informed source”.
IRNA rejected any suggestion of an assassination and called such reports “psychological ops” and “manufacturing news”.
Iran International, quoting sources in Iran, first reported Thursday that Esmailzadeh, one of the commanders of a secretive IRGC Quds (Qods) unit fell from the rooftop of his house in Karaj, near Tehran and was pronounced dead in the hospital. He served in Unit 840 of the extraterritorial Quds Force that conducts operations abroad, often directed against US allies in the region.
The incident happened on Monday, May 30, eight days after another commander Hassan Sayyad-Khodaei of the same secretive Unit 840 was assassinated outside his home in Tehran by two assailants who escaped on a motorcycle.
The sources said that after the assassination IRGC intelligence organs became suspicious of Esmailzadeh, who was a close associate of Sayyad-Khodaei and decided to eliminate him. They told his family that the victim committed suicide because he was suffering psychologically after a divorce.
Sabereen News, an Arabic and Persian Telegram channel close to the Qods Force also confirmed Esmailzadeh’s death saying that “he fell from the balcony” at his home.
But in its first report Sabereen News had called the incident “suspicious” and said, “investigations have begun,” asking the public not to believe “opposition” media, insisting that “so far nothing is clear.”
A few hours later, the IRGC-controlled channel quoted “an informed source” denying “assassination” as the cause of Esmailzadeh’s death.
But confusion reigned as another IRGC-affiliated channel, Ammariyoun, first said in a post, “It is being reported that another member of the Guards Qods Force has been assassinated.”
A few minutes later, the post was deleted, and the channel replaced the word “assassination” with “suicide” and wrote, “It is being reported that a person with the name Colonel Ali Esmailzadeh committed suicide by falling at his home in Karaj.”