US leak blaming “Israel” for Khodaei’s assassination angers occupation
The US blames “Israel” for Sunday’s assassination of a senior Revolutionary Guard operative; Simultaneously Israeli officials voice anger and warn of consequences.
A leak to The New York Times which unmasked “Israel’s” responsibility in the assassination of IRGC member Colonel Sayad Khodaei on Thursday infuriated Israeli officials, with a powerful Knesset committee warning that such leaks could harm US-Israeli collaboration.
The US, Israeli dispute
Col. Sayad Khodaei, 50, was fatally shot outside his home on a quiet residential street in Tehran on Sunday when two gunmen on motorcycles approached his car and fired five bullets into it.
Iran has blamed “Israel” for the assassination, which resembled its other targeting of Iranians for years on land, sea, air, and cyberspace.
Go deeper: New York Times: Iran's Top Nuclear Scientist Was Assassinated By a Killer Robot Machine Gun
The New York Times reported that Israeli intelligence officials had passed along information about the assassination of Khodaei.
The report did not specify which country the intelligence official represented, but the Israeli security establishment, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, believes the source was American and is furious about the leak.
According to other media outlets, Israeli officials are demanding answers from their US counterparts, as the NYT report places sole responsibility for the killing on “Israel” and absolves the US of any involvement.
It is worth mentioning that Israeli officials have also expressed concern that the report would lead to an increase in Iranian attacks on Israeli targets.
Is it the nuclear deal?
“Israel” is adamantly opposed to the nuclear deal, and some Iranian analysts close to the government believe the attack was intended to derail the nuclear talks at a critical juncture and undermine any possibility of an agreement between Iran and the US on the issue of the Guards, according to NYT.
“Israel” and assassinations
The Israeli occupation has a history of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists with drive-by shootings by gunmen on motorcycles. However, unlike previous attacks inside Iran, which primarily targeted nuclear facilities and military infrastructure, this assassination appeared to be a rare instance of “Israel” targeting Guards members inside Iran.
After the assassination of Khodaei, the IRGC's public relations department announced the arrest of a spying network linked with Israeli intelligence.
Last April, three Israeli Mossad spies were arrested in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan upon judicial order. According to Iranian intelligence, the spies were involved in disseminating classified information and documents.
Similarly, the Iranian Security Directorate also announced in March the dismantling of an espionage network working for "Israel" in western Iran.
Iran's intelligence ministry announced in July 2021 that it had arrested agents who were members of a network working for the Israeli occupation and that it had seized a cache of weapons and ammunition intended for use in riots and terror in the country.