Iranian Engineer Was Intentionally Poisoned, Report Says

Opposition-affiliated Iran International reports that the aerospace engineer, who was involved in missile and drone research, had been poisoned at a dinner and that the host had fled the country

An Iranian drone on display during a military parade in Tehran, Iran, in April.
An Iranian drone on display during a military parade in Tehran, Iran, in April.Credit: Iranian Presidency / AFP

Senior Iranian engineer Ayoob Entezari, who was reported dead under unclear circumstances on Saturday, had been intentionally poisoned, reported the London-based Iran International, which is identified with the opposition in the Islamic Republic.

According to the report, Entezari had been invited to a dinner, and felt ill after returning home; he died a short while later at a hospital in the city of Yazd. Iran denied the claims, saying that he died of disease. According to the Iran International report, several sources said that the host of the dinner has fled the country.

According to some Iranian reports, Entezari died of food poisoning. His death followed two other mysterious deaths of senior Iranian military officials over the past two weeks. Entezari held a PhD in aerospace engineering and was considered one of the top scientists in his field. He took part in various projects at the Institute of Technology in the city of Yazd.

It was also reported that Entezari specialized in drone and missile development.

On Friday, Iran reported the death of a colonel of the elite Quds Force of its Revolutionary Guards, the second colonel reported dead in the last two weeks. Both hailed from the unit which oversees Iran's military operations abroad.

Quoting an unknown official on Friday, the early morning report by the official IRNA news agency said Col. Ali Esmailzadeh had died during an “incident in his residence” days ago in the city of Karaj, some 35 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran.

A day earlier, Iran International reported that Esmailzadeh was executed on suspicion of spying for Israel. According to the report, Esmailzadeh was considered close to Quds Force Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, who was shot dead outside of his home in Tehran last week. Khodaei had been a key player in attempts to attack Jewish and Israeli targets abroad.

The report also said that after that assassination, which U.S. officials told the New York Times had been carried out by Israel, the Revolutionary Guards began examining whether intelligence on their activities was leaked by one of their own, and Esmailzadeh aroused suspicion.

The website also reported that the colonel died from a fall from the roof of his home, and that members of the Revolutionary Guards tried to portray his death as a suicide. Members of his family were told that he took his own life after separating with his wife, and that he left a suicide note. The official IRNA news agency denied the report, saying that Esmailzadeh died in an accident in his home.

Last week, The New York Times reported that an Iranian engineer was killed and another person injured in a drone attack on a military base near Tehran.

Earlier, Iran's Defense Ministry had reported the event at the Parchin complex as an "accident" at a research unit, and identified the engineer as Ehsun Ghadbeigi. A later statement from the same ministry said, as per the New York Times report, that they viewed the event as an attack.

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