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Suspicion Hovers over Reported Death of IRGC Leader - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London- As Iranians are occupied with reports coming in on the Aleppo battlefield, in which Iranian military forces appear to have been suffering grave losses, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official statement confirmed on Wednesday the death of the Admiral Mohammad Nazeri, high-end official of the Iranian Marine Corps.

According to the statement Nazeri was killed in action over Gulf waters south of Iran.

Prior to any official announcement, IRGC affiliated media published several conflicting stories on the admiral’s death.

Sepah News website, IRGC news agency media outlet, revealed that Nazeri was killed while leading a mission in the “Nazeeat” zone, which is what Iran calls the UAE islands – Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs – it occupies.

Unlike what Sepah news reported, the IRGC announcement published on Fars News pointed out that Nazeri was killed after exposure to chemical substances on his way back from giving a speech in the spirit of IRGC establishment at the Bandar Lengeh, an Iranian harbor city overlooking the coast of Gulf waters.

Fars News’ announcement gave details on the time and setting for Nazeri’s funeral service. According to the statement, the funeral will be attended by prominent Iranian military officials, and will be held Thursday evening in the Mahallati town, which is located in the strained northeastern Tehran military zone.

Fars News had also quoted in its report the Iranian navy official, Reza Tngsiri, as mentioning Nazeri’s exposure to chemical substances.

Ambiguity and vagueness on the “chemical substance” claim were not clarified in any of the published reports. The nature of Nazeri’s mission was also left undeclared.

On the other hand, Tasnim News Agency, another IRGC intelligence media outlet, in its primary reports on Nazeri’s death said that he had passed away due to cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile Iranian governmental news agencies, Mehr and Mashreq, which are well informed on IRGC movements, reiterated the data which came in primary reports.

Nazeri is said to have been one of the officials involved in the kidnap of U.S. navy members, which took place last January, and the abduction of the British navy men in April 1997. Nazeri had received, among others, an award from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for abducting the U.S. soldiers.

A few hours after Nazeri’s death, the highly controversial Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, showed up at the house of the deceased in Tehran tipping over all previous rumors placing him in Aleppo, Syria.

Websites quoted Soleimani as saying that Nazeri has not changed at all since the IRGC establishment in 1979. It is worth mentioning that Soleimani was trained by Nazeri.

This is the second time that Soleimani made an appearance in Tehran over the last three days, given that Iranian media last Saturday circulated information on Soleimani heading to Aleppo after the grave losses suffered by the Quds Force and Iranian forces in the region.

Among Soleimani’s statements was one given in praise of how Nazeri was fully spent on IRGC operations and has died in action and answering to duty.

Other Iranian websites reportedly speculated on the IRGC official statement on Nazeri’s death, some of which accusing Tehran for covering the fact on his death taking place in Syria.

Whether killed in Syria or not, he is still considered one of the most prominent IRGC leaders to die, ranking right below Brig. Hussein Hamadani who was killed last October in the suburbs of Aleppo.