Iranian Revolutionary Guards probe officer's 'horrific' death


DUBAI, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards saidthey were investigating the death of an officer in a "horrificincident", but denied media reports it was an assassination.

Alborz, an Iranian website, reported earlier this week thatMojtaba Ahmadi, an official of the elite Islamic RevolutionaryGuard Corps (IRGC), was found shot dead near Karaj, a townnorthwest of the capital Tehran.

He had left his house on Monday morning and was found a fewhours later with a bullet in his heart, it said.

The London-based Daily Telegraph reported that Ahmadi was acommander of the unit's Cyber War Headquarters and quoted alocal police commander as saying it was an assassination.

It speculated that the death could have been anassassination, similar to those of five Iranian nuclearscientists since 2007.

"In the wake of a horrific incident involving one of theIRGC officials ... the matter is being investigated and the mainreason of the event and the motive of the attacker has not beenspecified," said an IRGC statement, quoted by Sepah news.

Sepah, which is operated by the Revolutionary Guard, ran itsreport under the headline "Denial of news reports of theassassination of one of IRGC's officials".

The statement did not identify Ahmadi but a local newswebsite published pictures on Wednesday showing his funeralprocession, along with text excerpts of the IRGC communique.

"The result of investigation will be announced throughofficial channels and any speculation will not be appropriatebefore the investigation is over," an Iranian official said lateon Wednesday. Western officials have not commented on theincident.

Iran has been accused of mounting cyber attacks againstWestern targets in recent years, and has itself been the targetof suspected U.S. attacks on computer systems at its nuclearfacilities using a virus called Stuxnet.

For their part, authorities in Tehran have accused Israeland its Western allies of carrying out a series ofassassinations against Iranian nuclear scientists. The last suchattack happened in January 2012 when one man was killed by a carbomb.

Israel regards Iran's nuclear activities as an existentialthreat and has applied diplomatic pressure on the West to forceIran to curb its nuclear programme. Tehran maintains it has onlypeaceful goals.

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