Senior Iranian Officer Dies Leaving Questions

Senior Iranian Officer Dies, Leaving Questions About His Death

The death of a senior Iranian military officer at his home in a Tehran suburb a week ago has fueled conflicting reports that he fell from a balcony, committed suicide or was killed.

The officer, Col. Ali Esmaelzadeh, died about a week after another high-ranking officer in the same unit, Col. Sayad Khodayee, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Tehran.

Their deaths come amid a new wave of heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, which for years have conducted a clandestine war of sabotage and targeted killings.

Both officers were high-ranking members of an elite secret detachment of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Force, Unit 840, which Israeli officials say is tasked with killing foreigners abroad.

There were other unusual circumstances surrounding his death that raised red flags for some Iranians.

The deaths of the two officers of Unit 840 were not the only murky deaths in Iran in the past two weeks. On May 25, a drone attack damaged a military site outside Tehran where Iran develops missile, nuclear and drone technology, and killed a Defense Ministry engineer.…

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