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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

1. Preface

Since the success of the Islamic Revolution, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to exporting its revolution abroad. One aspect of this campaign has been a commitment to silencing critical voices in the Iranian exile community around the world. Since December 1979 Iranian intelligence agents have assassinated monarchist, nationalist and democratic activists in countries as diverse as the United States, Austria, Dubai, France and Turkey.

Iran is increasingly being held to account for its murderous activities outside its borders. In November 2006 an Argentinean federal judge issued an arrest warrant for eight IRI officials implicated in the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in July 1994 which killed 85 people. Those indicted include a former Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iran’s former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Arrest warrants for Iranian officials have also been issued by Switzerland in April 2006 for the murder of Professor Kazem Rajavi and by Austria in 1989 for the murder of Kurdish leader Abdol-Rahman Ghassemlou. Iran’s former Intelligence Minister, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, who is featured on the cover of this report, is currently the subject of no less than three separate international arrest warrants.

In this context, the Mykonos case has particular significance because it opens a window on a secret world. The trial of many, but sadly not all, of those involved elicited minute operational details about Iran’s program of political assassinations and about the kind of men recruited to carry it out. The testimony of a high-ranking former Iranian intelligence officer with direct experience of such operations provided a rare insight into the political direction behind such attacks. The unprecedented release of German intelligence materials laid bare for public examination the infrastructure that supported Iranian Intelligence operations in Western Europe.

The IHRDC has sifted through all this material, and has conducted fresh interviews and additional research of its own, to produce the first comprehensive publicly available report on the Mykonos case to appear in either English or Farsi. In doing so, it provides human rights campaigners inside Iran, and in the wider human rights community outside, with the materials they need to demonstrate the violent resolve of the IRI to silence dissident voices no matter where in the world they are raised.

In bearing witness, the IHRDC report also pays tribute to the immense courage it takes to make a commitment to free speech and association in the face of such implacable hostility. The Mykonos Case is just one of many incidents in which Iranian political dissidents have paid the ultimate price for such acts of personal conscience.

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Tagged as:

Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom