The Public Relations Office of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on December 16 that Brigadier-General Ghodratollah Mansouri, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), had accidentally killed himself while cleaning his gun.
At the end of the war, General Mansouri was given the command of the Imam Reza 21st Brigade. He later commanded the Nasr 5th Army, and also served in Iraq and Syria.
Since 2014, he had been the commander of the IRGC’s ground forces at Saman Alaemah military base in Mashhad, capital of the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi.
This is not the first time that a senior IRGC officer is said to have accidentally shot himself dead while cleaning his gun.
IRGC Colonel Second Class Mohammad Ali Malaki, the commander of Imam Ali military base in Tangestan County, in the southern province of Bushehr, killed himself while cleaning his sidearm on December 14, 2015.
Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Akbari, a member of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s security detail, was killed on May 1, 2016 while on a training mission in Syria. The IRGC’s Public Relations Office listed “firearm malfunction” as the cause of death.
Two weeks later, Rahmatollah Sharifi, the border guard commander of Piranshahr, the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan, shot himself dead with his sidearm. The IRGC did not release any details on the apparent suicide.
Kayhan London published a report in September 2016 on the increasing number of suicides among soldiers and military personnel in Iran. Military units have been trying for the past 10 to 15 years to offer better psychological care to their soldiers and officers.
Speaking at the Sixth National Conference on Mental Health on December 16, Brigadier-General Second Class Shahnam Baboli, the director of the Health Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Ground Forces (NEZAJA), said: “The mental health of the armed forces’ soldiers, officers and personnel is a vital part of combat-readiness of the military. More work needs to be done in this area.”
Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi