At the start of February 2015 there was news that another member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was killed in Iraq. IRGC members were deployed to Iraq shortly after the fall of Mosul in June 2014. They have provided planning, arms, training, and advising to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), militias and peshmerga. Many are on the frontlines causing a number of casualties. This was the seventh loss for the IRGC in Iraq.
February 9 it was reported that the Islamic State killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps General Mohammed Reza Hosseini in Salahaddin. He died on February 7, and was buried in Najaf upon his request. Hosseini was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War and an intelligence chief for the IRGC. The Iranian press claimed he was killed defending the Askari shrine in Samarra, but that was unconfirmed. Tehran has justified its presence in Iraq partly as a religious duty to protect the Shiite shrines in the country, similar to how it used the Sayid Zainab shrine in the Damascus suburbs to explain its support for the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. Therefore almost every Iranian death in Iraq is said to be in Samarra whether they died there or not.
The general was the seventh Iranian loss in Iraq that has been reported. The first death was of Ali Reza Moshajari who died in Karbala in June. He might have died in a car accident. Another unidentified IRGC member passed away that month as well. The next month Colonel Kamal Shirkhani and Colonel Shujaat Almadari Morjani were killed. Shirkhani was an IRGC pilot and was probably spotting for Iranian air strikes or Iranians flying Iraqi Air Force planes. In December General Hamid Taqavi was killed by an IS sniper in Balad. Finally, in January 2015 Mehdi Norouzi, a commander in the Basij militia died fighting IS in Salahaddin. The Basij are often called up to provide manpower for the IRGC when it has large mobilizations. IRGC’s presence in the front is the reason why it has suffered most of these losses. More can be expected in the future as Tehran has made a major commitment to Iraq.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Another Iranian Commander Killed in Iraq,” 2/9/15
Shafaq News, “Iranian intelligence commander killed in battles with ISIS in Samarra,” 2/9/15