An Iranian general died on Sunday after accidentally shooting himself in the head.
General Ghodratollah Mansouri was reported dead by the Iranian state press on Sunday. He was a member of the elite Revolutionary Guard that protects Iran’s fundamentalist Islamic government.
The Revolutionary Guard has boasted about its competence in the past while trading threats with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Iranian general mistakenly kills self
Mansouri mistakenly committed suicide while cleaning his pistol, which was apparently loaded at the time, according to the Revolutionary Guard website.
Iran’s state media said that Mansouri was a veteran of Iran’s war in Iraq in the 1980s and lauded him as a “defender of the shrine,” marking him as a fighter against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Iran is dominated by Shi’ite Islam, while ISIS advocates an extremist version of the Sunni sect of the religion.
The Revolutionary Guard was founded by former Ayatollah Khoemini after the Iranian revolution in 1979 and is a special branch of Iran’s armed forces that has the purpose of defending the Islamic regime from internal and external threats. The Guards killed numerous Iranian protesters last year as a wave of discontent rolled across Tehran.
Mansouri had a significant supervisory role, leading one of the Guard’s regional ground forces in the city of Mashad in northeastern Iran, some 560 miles east of the capital Tehran, since 2014.
Reuters described Mansouri’s base as being located in a “sensitive security area” because of its proximity to the eastern border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Iran has fought opium smuggling gangs.
Trump enemy Iran loses General
In its role as protector of Iran’s regime, the Revolutionary Guard has traded threats with President Trump amid the ongoing foreign policy conflict between the two countries.
Trump threatened Iran in July in an all-caps tweet addressed to president Hassan Rouhani: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”
The Guard fired back, boasting: “Trump cannot do a damn thing against Iran.” The Guard later shut down proposals to talk from Trump, vowing to never meet with the “Great Satan,” Iran’s nickname for America, and blamed the United States for a terrorist attack that killed 25 people.
For his part, Trump has considered labeling the Guard a terrorist organization.
Trump has singled out Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, pointing to the threat posed by the regime as one of the reasons for his continued support of Saudi Arabia amid the controversy surrounding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia and Iran are archenemies, and the proxy conflict between the two has spilled over into a civil war in Yemen, which has been described as an ongoing humanitarian disaster.
Iran has lost hundreds of soldiers in its fight against ISIS in Syria but is also a supporter of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government, another flashpoint of conflict between the United States and the regime. Iran has said that its forces are only in Syria in an “advisory” rather than a combat role.