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October 26, 2022 11:23 am

Iranian IRGC Commanders Shot Dead Were ‘Responsible’ for Supply of Drones to Russia, Ukrainian Media Outlets Claim

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Ukrainian police officers shoot at an Iranian drone in the skies above Kyiv. Photo: Reuters/Vadim Sarakhan

Two senior Iranian commanders who were shot dead by unknown gunmen in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Monday may have been responsible for the supply of drones to the Russian armed forces, Ukrainian media outlets claimed on Tuesday.

The two officers were senior members of the Iranian regime’s widely-feared Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is playing a central role in repressing the historic protests currently rocking the Middle Eastern nation.

Gen. Javad Keikha, the commander of the Basij paramilitary organization, and Col. Mehdi Mollashahi of the IRGC were killed as they traveled together in a car through Zahedan — the main city in Iran’s restive, largely Sunni Muslim province of Sistan and Balochistan — on Monday afternoon.

According to Ukraine’s RBK news outlet, both men were involved in the supply of the Shahed-136 drones which Russian forces have been using to deadly effect against Ukrainian population centers in recent weeks. RBK did not cite a source for this claim. Other Ukrainian outlets pointed to a report carried by Israel’s Russian-language Channel 9 broadcaster, which underlined that the reports asserting the officers were managing the supply of drones to Russia were “unverified.”

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At least one Iranian journalist alleged that Keikha and Mollahshahi were among those responsible for the Sept. 30 massacre of protestors in Zahedan, an atrocity tagged as “Bloody Friday” on social media. At least 93 people were reported to have been killed by security forces, with hundreds more wounded, according to Iranian human rights organizations.

The allegations about Keikha and Mollashahi with regard to Ukraine surfaced as Israeli President Isaac Herzog landed in Washington, DC, for a meeting on Wednesday with President Joe Biden. As he departed Israel, Herzog said that he would present US officials with photographic and other evidence of the use of Iranian drones by Russian forces in Ukraine.

“Iranian weapons play a central role in global destabilization, and the international community must learn its lesson, now and in the future,” Herzog said.

Separately, the US on Wednesday announced that it had sanctioned six Iranian regime officials “who are responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses,” along with three IRGC commanders “for their brutal responses to protests in Iran.”

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