A senior Iranian military officer affiliated with the country's Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, has fled the Islamic Republic with a cache of secret documents said to contain information on Tehran's military plans, according to reports.
Ali Nasiri, a former IRGC brigadier general who once headed Iran's counterintelligence operations, is reported to have fled Iran and requested political asylum at a U.S. embassy in an unnamed Gulf country, according to a report carried in Iran Commentary, an online news portal that publishes information about Iran's human rights abuses and illicit activity.
Recent Stories in National Security
"Sources say a probe launched by IRGC counterintelligence units reveals that Nasiri fled a Persian Gulf country, requesting political asylum at the local U.S. embassy," the report claims. "Reports indicate Nasiri had in possession a large volume of documents recording the travels of senior IRGC commanders, intelligence personnel and operational units to foreign countries, all under the cover of diplomatic missions."
While the Washington Free Beacon could not independently verify the report, it could represent a coup for the U.S. intelligence community, which has long sought information on Iran's military apparatus and plans.
"Nasiri's fleeing from Iran has had an extremely negative impact among the hierarchy under his command," Iran Commentary reported. "On April 19, the IRGC-associated Fars News Agency referred to the fate of Nasiri without any further explanation."
Reports of Nasiri's situation could shine a greater light on the surprise decision over the weekend by Iran's Supreme Leader to shake up the IRGC's leadership by appointing a new lead commander. The change in leadership also came several days after President Donald Trump took the unprecedented step of designating the entire IRGC as a terrorist group, the first time America has designated an entire country's fighting force.
A State Department official declined to comment on Nasiri's situation, citing a policy of not providing information on potential asylum seekers.
Meanwhile, Iran has unleashed a flurry of threats on the heels of the State Department's decision Monday to stop granting waivers permitting a host of countries to continue purchasing Iranian crude oil.
Iranian leaders lashed out at Trump and vowed to continue selling crude oil, a main source of revenue for the ruling regime as it faces a cash crunch due to U.S. sanctions on the nation.
"Our oil sales will never decrease to any less than one million barrels a day," Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, was quoted as saying in Iran's state-controlled press on Tuesday.