Monday, January 09, 2006

Timmerman on the air crash

Kenneth R. Timmerman, Foundation for Democracy in Iran:
A Revolutionary Guards Falconjet crashed near Ourmieh in western Iran earlier today, killing 11 top IRGC officers, including the commander of the IRGC ground forces and the IRGC ground forces intelligence chief. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came from the Rev. Guards ranks, issued a public note of condoleance to the IRGC within hours of the crash. According to FDI sources, at least one member of Iran's Majles called the crash "sabotage" and called for a parliamentary investigation. READ MORE

In a rare move, the commander of the IRGC held a press conference acknowledging the crash just 90 minutes after it occured, and authorized the official Islamic Republic News Agency to publish a list of those on board. In addition to IRGC's Ground Forces Commander Gen. Ahmad Kazemi, the dead included:
  • Commander of IRGC Rassoulollah 27th Army Division, Gen. Saeed Mohtadi,
  • Deputy Commander of Ground Forces for Operation Affairs, Gen. Saeed Soleymani, reportedly a top Iranian liason officer with the Iraqi insurgency
  • IRGC Ground Forces Intellligence chief, Gen. Shahramoradi Hanif Montazer-Qaem
  • Artillery unit Commander, Gholam-Reza Yazdani;
  • Two members of the Ground Forces' Command Office, Hamid Azinpour and Mohsen Asadi;
  • Deputy Commander of Ground Forces, Gen Safdar Reshadi,
  • IRGC Air Force General Abbas Karvandi, the plane's pilot, whom FDI sources identified as commander of the Qadr air base, which is responsible for defending the air space over Tehran;
  • IRGC General Ahmad Elhaminejad, identified by FDI sources as head of the IRGC air force college, who was the plane's co-pilot,
  • IRGC Colonel Morteza Basiri.
FDI sources in Tehran said the IRGC leadership was "shocked" by the crash, which apparently resulted from a failure of both engines of the French-made executive jet. On Monday evening, the National Security committee of the Iranian Majles went into an emergency meeting to hear classified information on the crash and to explore evidence of potential sabotage, our sources reported.

Unidentified gunmen attempted to assasinate president Ahmadinejad in eastern Iran on December 12, and sources in Tehran say the new president is facing fierce opposition for rival clerics who feel he has gone too far in openly defying the United States and Israel.