By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The new governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province was assaulted during his inauguration ceremony by a man who rushed the stage and slapped him.
The new governor, General Abedin Khorram, had just approached the podium on October 23 in the city of Tabriz when an unidentified man strode onto the stage and struck him without warning.
Footage of the incident was broadcast on state television, which showed that it took several seconds for security forces to apprehend the assailant.
Khorram later returned to the podium and told the audience that he did not know his assailant.
The IRNA state news agency reported that the attacker was a member of the Ashura Corp of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and that the attack was a “personal dispute.” Those claims could not be independently verified.
Khorram was among 48 Iranians held hostage in Syria in 2013. Iran claimed the hostages were “Shi’ite pilgrims,” while the United States said they were technical advisers to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He was appointed governor of the northwestern province by President Ebrahim Raisi on October 17.
IRNA said a criminal case had been opened.