Iran is denying rumors about the real cause of death of Mohammad Hejazi, one of the masterminds behind the deadly AMIA bombing in Argentina.
By Baruch Yedid, TPS
Sources in Iran claimed this week that Brigadier general Mohammad Hejazi, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Corps (IRGC), did not die as a result of a heart attack as initially claimed, but as a result of a complication caused by a chemical weapons injury he incurred during the Iran-Iraq war.
The American Jewish Committee previously claimed that Hejazi was among the planners of the 1994 attack on the Jewish community (AMIA) building in Argentina, which left 85 victims dead in addition to the bomber.
Other rumors claim he was poisoned with radioactive material while hinting at the U.S or Israel as the perpetrators of the act, and other rumors have spread that he died as a result of a “biological terrorist incident” for which Israel is responsible.
IRGC spokesman Ramadan Sheriff said Hejazi’s death was due to complications caused by his exposure to a chemical attack in the Iran-Iraq war, while the IRGC itself claimed that Hejazi died of a heart attack and crowned him a “martyr.”
One of the former advisers to the IRGC commander also said Hejazi’s death was “caused by injuries caused by a chemical complication” but denied rumors he had died from a “biological assassination.” He said Hejazi had indeed died of a heart attack but stressed that he had been hit by chemicals in the past, during the war.
Upon learning of his death, Iranian state television declared him “deceased,” but Hejazi later was described as a “martyr,” prompting a wave of speculation as to the manner and circumstances of his death.
Iranian opposition figures have been claiming for the past day that Hejazi was present at the Natanz nuclear facility at the time of the blast last week and linked his death to the incident. This claim has no official confirmation.
Other allegations claimed the senior Iranian official was killed in Yemen but most of the attention was drawn to Muhammad Qassem Hamat, the son of a senior Iranian officer who died in 1984, who tweeted that “his death was not due to a heart attack” while describing Hejazi as a “martyr.” The tweet was deleted shortly after.
In Iran, Hejazi is now defined as a “martyr” and during his funeral ceremony in Isfahan they said that he “joined his holy friends.”
In the meantime, General Muhammad Ridha Fallah Zada has been appointed as Hejazi’s successor as deputy commander of the IRGC’s Quds Forces, its foreign espionage and sabotage arm.
Sources in Iran claim that Hejazi’s death and the mysterious explosion at the Natanz nuclear site have ratcheted up tensions between Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards have, which have been feuding since the assassination last November of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. According to sources, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hurried to meet with the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence chiefs to resolve the disputes.
Iranian experts believe that Hejazi was the most important IRGC figure after the assassination of Qassem Suleimani and was even considered more important than his commander, Esmail Qaani.
Hejazi joined the Revolutionary Guards in 1979 and served as an adviser to Khamenei. He later served in a number of senior positions, including Commander of the Basij Forces, Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of the Armed Forces.
In January 2020, he replaced Esmail Qaani, who was appointed commander of the Quds Force following Sulimani’s assassination.
Earlier, in August 2019, an IDF spokesman revealed that Hejazi, along with other senior Iranian officials, was in charge of Hezbollah’s missile precision project in Lebanon. He was also responsible for the establishment of pro-Iranian organizations in Syria.
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