(Photo credit: AFP)
In a statement on 22 August, Iranian Defa Press agency reported the death of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander in Syria, during an advisory role to the Axis of Resistance factions.
Officer Abolfazl Alijani was killed on 21 August in unclear circumstances during his mandated advisory role in Syria. He was hailed as one of the “defenders of the shrines,” a term referring to Iranian military personnel and advisers who aim to protect sacred Shia sites in Iraq and Syria.
Alijani is a graduate of the Imam Hussain Military College and had worked in the department of the Combat Engineering Training Center at the Amir Al-Momenin University of Science and Technology since 2013.
Amir Al-Momenin University is based in Isfahan and is considered the biggest IRGC staff military college for ground force officers, where Alijani served as a high ranking commander in its corps.
As the IRGC continues its activities in West Asia uninterrupted, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign affairs has abandoned its demand to have the corps removed from the US terrorism blacklist, according to Politico.
The decision was taken following President Joe Biden’s insistence to keep the IRGC on the blacklist, after a call with Israel’s former prime minister Naftali Bennet in April.
The recent details leaked to the media about Iran’s finalized terms to agree to reviving the nuclear deal leaves the door open for future negotiations to lift sanctions on the IRGC, but drops it as a current demand.
“The current version of the text, and what they are demanding, drops [the terror designation removal precondition],” a senior Biden administration official informed CNN. “So, if we are closer to a deal, that’s why.”
Sanctions against the IRGC will remain in place, however, they will no longer extend to “partner companies” that engage in transactions with the corps or western companies.
However, commander of the Aerospace Force of the IRGC Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh dismissed the need for a nuclear armed Iran, clarifying that the upcoming deal has no impact on the corps’ ability to fight Israel.
“We don’t have nuclear weapons, but our [conventional] warheads are enough to plow Israel several times,” famous Iranian newspaper Kayhan quoted Hajizadeh on its front page.
Hajizadeh gave his statement in light of a possible upcoming nuclear deal during a meeting held at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad on 22 August.
“In the past, we used to import barbed wires, but now we export drones. Undoubtedly, this has been realized by establishing a relationship between knowledge-based departments, universities and technological experts,” Hajizadeh told an audience of university students.