Two informed sources recently told IranWire that a statement by the spokesman of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, claiming that the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by a remotely-operated machine gun, was a complete fabrication.
IranWire has now learned that the Intelligence Ministry plans to arrest and interrogate certain members of the Revolutionary Guards in connection with the killing. This raises the serious possibility of physical clashes between two key security agencies of the Islamic Republic.
According to IranWire sources, the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran wants to arrest and interrogate several members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in connection with the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27 this year.
The IRGC, however, has responded that its counter-intelligence unit is responsible for investigating those individuals, and any action by any other agency to arrest them would be considered a “physical threat” against the Guards.
For its part the Intelligence Ministry believes the Revolutionary Guards are not qualified to investigate the case of Fakhrizadeh and has surmised that many security breaches in the past few years have been the result of the Guards’ ignorance of the most basic principles of intelligence operations, and/or of widespread corruption within the organization.
In recent days members of the IRGC have conspicuously been trying to blame culprits other than their own for the assassination of Fakhrizadeh. On Saturday, December 5, the Guards’ spokesman Ramezan Sharif claimed the assassination had been carried out using a “satellite device”. He also complained that the “sacrifice” of the head of the IRGC’s security detail had been largely ignored.
IranWire’s two informed sources say this would not be the first time members of the Intelligence Ministry and the Guards have come to blows. In the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election result, for instance, a number of reformist activists were arrested by the Guards’ intelligence agents. When the ministry objected to these arrests, members of the IRGC beat up the government agents.