Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Monday that Iran will "have blood revenge" over the killing of a senior member of Iran Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.
Quoted on Iranian television, the president said Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei "was murdered by terrorist assassins," and that the killing was under investigation.
On Sunday, Tasnim news agency reported that Khodaei was assassinated while sitting in his car in front of his house. Two assailants shot the victim five times, state media said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
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Although the Guards gave only scant detail about the attack that occurred in broad daylight in the heart of Iran's capital, the group blamed the killing on “global arrogance,” typically code for the United States and Israel.
The killing only strengthens the determination of the Guards to confront the enemies of the Iranian nation, the Guards spokesman Ramazan Sharif said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
"The martyrdom of Colonel Khodaei strengthens the determination of the Revolutionary Guards to defend security, independence and national interests and to confront the enemies of the Iranian nation," he said. "The thugs and terrorist groups affiliated with global oppression and Zionism will face consequences for their actions."
Meanwhile, a former Iranian diplomat told Ashams Radio that Khodaei was not in a high ranking position and that Israel is overstating his importance. However, the diplomat added that if Israel turns out to be responsible for the assassination, Iranian revenge will be unavoidable.
Khodaei was likely behind a series of plots against Israeli businesspeople and diplomats in various countries over the past few months.
Last month, U.K.-based Iran International News Channel reported that an agent of the Quds Force had been commissioned to assassinate three people, including an Israeli consulate employee, in Turkey. Israeli officials said the plot was thwarted by the Mossad.
The Iranian ISNA news agency reported on Sunday that members of an Israeli intelligence ring were arrested by the Revolutionary Guard. The report quoted the organization to say that the arrested members "acted under the orders of the Zionist regime's intelligence services."
The organization reportedly said that this ring had attempted to steal and destroy public property, and also tried to carry out abductions in order to get forced confessions "using a network of thugs."
At least six Iranian scientists and academics have been killed or attacked since 2010, several of them by assailants riding motorcycles, in incidents believed to have targeted Iran’s disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at producing a bomb.
Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program has peaceful purposes, and has denounced the killings as acts of terrorism carried out by Western intelligence agencies and Mossad. Israel has declined comment on such accusations.
Jonathan Lis and Reuters contributed to this report.