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High-profile assassinations of Iranian figures blamed on Israel

An officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was shot dead Friday by unknown assailants on a motorcycle outside his home in east Tehran.

Many see a striking similarity between Col. Sayyad Khodayari’s assassination and that of legendary Iranian military commander Sayyad Shirazi, who was killed outside his home 23 years ago.

Between Shirazi and Khodayari, there have been many high-profile assassinations of Iranian military figures as well as nuclear scientists over the years, with fingers pointing outside the border.

While it was Mojahideen e Khalq (MeK), an armed opposition group operating overseas, which was blamed for the assassinations of top Iranian political and military figures after the 1979 revolution, since 2010 it has mostly been the Israeli spy agency and local handlers.

On Mossad’s radar have essentially been Iran’s nuclear scientists, many of whom have been killed in targeted attacks since 2010, some in the nation’s capital of Tehran.

The high-profile assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakrizadeh on Nov. 27, 2020 grabbed headlines worldwide and prompted Tehran to ramp up its nuclear activities in retaliation.

Fakhrizadeh, who headed the research and innovation division at Iran’s Defense Ministry, was a high-value target for Mossad who had survived many attempts on his life.

It eventually took a remote-controlled device and a sophisticated military operation to kill him on the outskirts of Tehran. Iran blamed Israel even though Tel Aviv neither confirmed nor denied the murder.

Fakhrizadeh had largely been a mysterious figure, who was believed to have headed what the UN nuclear watchdog and US spy agencies said was a nuclear program that was halted in 2003.


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