South Asia and Beyond

Who Is The Iranian General Killed In Damascus?

 Who Is The Iranian General Killed In Damascus?

People gather near a damaged Iranian consulate in Damascus (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria has left at least 11 people dead and among them is Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Zahedi is the highest-ranking Iranian military official to be killed since the January 2020 assassination of General Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad carried out by Israeli government.

Zahedi was a senior commander in al-Quds force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) clandestine foreign intelligence and paramilitary wing. He is said to command units in Lebanon and Syria and is key to Tehran’s relationship with Hezbollah.

The al-Quds which operates through West Asia now faces challenges in its operations.

Saeid Golkar, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Tennessee told the Guardian that, “IRGC is still reliant on one man and his networks. It cannot function independently of them.”

Zahedi joined the military two years after the 1979 Islamic revolution. According to the Associated Press, he was initially involved in the Iran-Iraq war, when he led a small brigade of soldiers. After the war, he was asked to focus on training military students.

In 2005, Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader appointed him as the commander of the IRGC’s ground forces. Zahedi is said to have a close relationship with Suleimani, who was killed in Baghdad.

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According to the US, Zahedi was pivotal in the supply of Iranian-made missiles to Hezbollah and had imposed sanctions on him in 2017.

Ayatollah Khamenei, has warned Israel and said that it would be punished for its attack on the Iranian consulate and that Tehran would “regret committing this crime.”

Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, said Iran’s response to the strike would be “at the same magnitude and harshness”.

Meanwhile, Russian government has strongly condemned the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital Damascus earlier in the day, denouncing the action as “unacceptable.”

“We consider any attacks on diplomatic and consular facilities, the inviolability of which is guaranteed by the relevant Vienna Conventions, to be categorically unacceptable,” the ministry said in a statement.

With inputs from AP