TEHRAN: The new governor of an Iranian province was slapped in the face by an angry man during his inauguration in an unusual breach of security.
The new governor of East Azerbaijan province, Brig-Gen Zeinolabedin Khorram, had taken the podium in the provincial capital of Tabriz when the man walked calmly and immediately swung at the official.
Video aired by state television recorded the crowd gasping in shock and the sound of the slap echoing on the sound system. It took several seconds before security forces reached him. They dragged the man off through a side door, knocking down a curtain before others rushed in.
The motive for the attack remained unclear though it targeted a new provincial governor who once served in the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard and reportedly had been kidnapped by rebel forces in Syria.
Later footage showed Khorram returning to the stage to speak to the crowd, now all standing up. It was a rare breach of security as the event was attended by the country’s Interior Minister, representatives of Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, and other state officials.
Newly appointed governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, Zeinolabedin Khorram-Razavi, formerly commander of IRGC Ashura battalion, gets slapped in the face during his inauguration by a fellow IRGC member, who had reportedly been fired previously on his order. pic.twitter.com/gwI2lpoT2r
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The attacker was identified the offender as Ayoub Alizadeh, a member of the country’s armed forces. In an interview with state-run television, the provincial governor said he did not know the offender personally.
A news agency later described the attacker as a member of the Ashoura Corps, which Khorram had overseen. Later, a semi-official news agency said the man who slapped the governor had been upset that his wife received a coronavirus vaccination from a male nurse rather than a female nurse.
Khorram had been recently nominated by Iran’s hard-line parliament to serve as the provincial governor under the government of Ebrahim Raisi who was elected president this year. Khorram had been among 48 Iranians held hostage in 2013 in Syria, later released for 2,130 rebels.