The Iranian deputy minister of trade was assassinated in an eastern neighborhood of Tehran on Sunday night, according to the state news agency IRNA.
In what is believed to be the first killing of a senior central government official in years, Deputy Industry Minister Safdar Rahmat Abadi was shot twice in the head and chest in his car. IRNA spoke to a police official who said two bullet casings were found inside the car, meaning that Abadi was likely shot by someone he was riding with, as the car’s windows weren’t broken and there was no sign of a struggle. According to Reuters, the Mehr semi-official news agency quoted Tehran police officer Colonel Alireza Mehrabi saying, ”The likelihood is that the killing of Mr. Rahmat Abadi happened through a personal motive and talk of assassinations and political issues is not involved.”
While there have been other recent attacks on Iranian provincial officials in recent weeks, there had been none involving central government ministers for many years. A U.S. State Department spokesman said they had seen media reports of the shooting, but had no further information or comment.