Reports from within Iran indicate that a “Removal Committee” was formed recently by the order of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. According to Digarban, an opposition website, four senior Guard commanders have died due to various causes in the past four days.
Those reported dead are:
Vafa Ghafarian (52), a senior Guard officer, former senior manager of the Guards defense industry and electronic warfare, and the active chairman of Iran’s telecommunications. It was announced that he died due to illness, although the exact cause of death was not reported.
Abbas Mehri (52), another senior commander of the Guards, was reported by the Iranian authorities to have died in recent days of a stroke.
Ahmad Siafzadeh (55), former head of the Guards University died in recent days due to heart attack.
Mansour Torkan (50), former Guard commander and general manager of a company affiliated with the municipal office of Tehran. The cause of his death was announced as a stroke.
Former Revolutionary Guard Commander Hossein Alaei expressed his sadness over the deaths of the commanders in a letter and praised their service to the country, specifically during the Iran-Iraq war.
Alaei recently came under intense pressure by Khamenei’s supporters when he criticized the leader and the direction of the country. Several other Guard commanders have recently spoken out against the leadership warning of dire consequences for the country.
It was reported that another Guard member from the Guards’ Air Force unit in Mashhad was recently secretly hanged in prison.
As reported on January 18th, the Removal Committee’s mission is to take out those are deemed to be opposing the leadership. This includes journalists, military and Guard commanders, political activists and even Ahmadinejad and his followers, should Ahmadinejad cause any further problems for the regime.
The regime has long experience with accidental deaths. Reports are that there will be many more who will be killed under suspicious circumstances as Khamenei tries to tighten the grip on all who might challenge his authority in his confrontation with the West.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).