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No Safe Haven: Iran's Global Assassination Campaign

No Safe Haven: Iran's Global Assassination Campaign

Since 1979, the senior leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been linked to at least 162 extrajudicial killings of the regime’s political opponents in 19 different countries around the world. These operations flourished in contravention of both international and national legal regimes, and were planned at the highest levels of state. Many of those responsible are still in power today. The IHRDC’s new report is the most authoritative study of Iran’s global campaign of political assassination to appear to date.

Table of Contents

1. PREFACE

2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

3. THE LONG ARM OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC

3.1. GENERAL MODUS OPERANDI

3.2. THE SUPREME LEADER

3.3. SPECIAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

3.4. MINISTRY OF INTELLIGENCE

3.5. THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS
The Quds Force

3.6. LEBANESE HEZBOLLAH

4. INDIVIDUAL CASES

4.1. SHAHRIAR SHAFIQ

4.2. ALI AKBAR TABATABAI

4.3. GENERAL GHOLAM ALI OVEISI

4.4. DR. ABDOL-RAHMAN GHASSEMLOU

4.5. KAZEM RAJAVI

4.6. DR. CYRUS ELAHI

4.8. MOHAMMAD HOSSEIN NAGHDI 

4.9. DR. REZA MAZLOUMAN

5. CONCLUSION

METHODOLOGY

APPENDICES (pdf download)

1. Preface

The 1979 Iranian Revolution was the result of a broad-based opposition movement that encompassed clerics, Islamists, communists, ethnic nationalists and liberal secularists. Although these groups were able to unite around the common goal of deposing Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, they could not agree on the shape the future republic should take and the triumphant coalition gradually fell apart in mutual acrimony.

Between 1979 and 1982, a struggle for power raged within Iran in which all sides suffered major casualties. The radical clerics who formed the nucleus of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s support gradually gained the upper hand ruthlessly using organs such as the Revolutionary Guards and local Islamic Komitehs to squelch dissent. Some political parties sought to reach an accommodation with the clerical establishment, others chose direct confrontation; ultimately all were suppressed.

From the outset, the radical clerics who made up Ayatollah Khomeini’s inner circle demonstrated an unwavering commitment to exporting their revolution abroad. In support of this objective, the Islamic Republic established the Ministry of Intelligence (Vizarat-i Ittila’t) with a global network of intelligence assets. The Revolutionary Guards established the Quds Force to carry out clandestine military operations overseas. Both organizations would establish a close working relationship with emerging Shi’a terrorist organizations inspired by the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran, most notably Lebanese Hezbollah. The Islamic Republic would use these organizations to track down and eliminate opponents of the regime living outside the country’s borders.

It is perhaps only fitting that the first of these operations, the assassination of the Shah’s nephew, Shahriar Shafiq, in Paris in December 1979 should come only a month after the interim government, led by Mehdi Bazargan, had been replaced by the Revolutionary Council, Ayatollah Khomeini’s “government within a government.” With the collapse of the Bazargan government, the clerical establishment immediately began to move against potential centers of opposition both at home and abroad. Iranian intelligence agents have since assassinated more than 162 monarchist, nationalist and democratic expatriate activists in countries as diverse as the United States, Austria, Pakistan, France and Turkey.

Inevitably, any investigation of clandestine structures and operations must necessarily be somewhat incomplete. Therefore, this report focuses on nine of the best documented incidents. All of these incidents provide compelling evidence that senior government officials, particularly those within the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, were complicit in these extrajudicial killings, and that these killings comprised a widespread and systematic policy. The report complements an earlier IHRDC publication, Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination.

Iran’s global assassination campaign was predicated on the simple principle that for opponents of the Islamic Republic there can be no safe haven anywhere in the world. It flourished in contravention of both international and national legal regimes. It is a campaign for which the organizers and perpetrators within the Islamic Republic of Iran must be held accountable.

2. Executive Summary

Since 1979, high-level officials within the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly those within the Revolutionary Guards and the Ministry of Intelligence, have been linked to at least 162 extrajudicial killings of the regime’s political opponents around the globe.  These attacks have been carried out on the authority of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and have been planned and coordinated at the highest levels of the clerical establishment. The Iranian government has made extensive use of its own intelligence facilities as well as terrorist proxies, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah organization, to mount attacks on foreign soil in contravention of national and international law.

  • In the immediate aftermath of the Iranian Revolution the loose coalition of opposition parties that deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi began to fragment. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s supporters quickly gained the upper hand and systematically began marginalizing and then eliminating potential challengers to their dominance.
  • Many political opponents of the radical clerics were ultimately forced to follow prominent royalists like General Gholam Ali Oveisi into exile. Prime Minister Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar, President Abolhassan Banisadr and Mujahedin-e Khalq leader Massoud Rajavi were all ultimately forced to make the same journey to Paris. As the focus of opposition to clerical rule shifted abroad, the clerical establishment responded by seeking to extend its efforts to suppress dissent beyond Iran’s borders.
  • The first successful overseas political assassination that can be linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran was that of Shahriar Shafiq, the nephew of the deposed Shah of Iran, who was shot dead in Paris in December 1979, only a month after the broad-based National Front government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan was forced from office by radical clerics and supplanted by the Revolutionary Council. The last political assassination, outside the territory of Iran and Iraq, that can be linked directly to the Islamic Republic was that of Dr. Reza Mazlouman, deputy leader of the Flag of Freedom Organization, who was murdered, also in Paris, in May 1996.
  • This report focuses on nine high-profile assassinations, beginning with the murder of Shahriar Shafiq and ending with that of Dr. Mazlouman. The cases also include the killings of Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran leader Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, former Prime Minister and National Front politician Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar, and Kazem Rajavi, the brother of the Mujahedin-e Khalq leader Massoud Rajavi. Each case illustrates different aspects of how this government-directed program operated.
  • The government of the Islamic Republic has made little attempt to hide its involvement in these killings. Commenting on the death sentences passed on members of the Shah’s family in absentia, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, Head of the Revolutionary Court, told reporters: “If we are not able to arrest them, then we will assassinate them.” Daoud Salahuddin, the American-born murderer of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, was accorded a personal meeting with Ayatollah Khomeini after the killing.
  • Ali Fallahian, Head of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence under the government of Hashemi Rafsanjani, boasted in a televised interview in August 1992 that his organization had been able “to strike a blow” at many of the opposition groups outside Iran’s borders. Fallahian was personally congratulated by Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, for his “great achievements in combating and uprooting the enemies of Islam, inside and outside the country.”
  • Iran finally abandoned its campaign of overseas assassination in large part because of growing international pressure over its activities. At present, Ali Fallahian is the subject of no less than three international arrest warrants. Since November 2007 he has been the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, making him one of the world’s highest profile fugitives from justice. Nonetheless, Fallahian currently serves on the Council of Experts responsible for selecting Iran’s Supreme Leader and remains an influential figure in Iranian politics as a security advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei.
  • Iran’s global campaign of extrajudicial killings violated fundamental principles of international human rights law. Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides in Article 6(1) that: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” The UN Human Rights Committee has described the right to life as the “supreme human right” (General Comment 6(16)). In every instance, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s targeted killings of political opponents violated both the territorial sovereignty and the domestic criminal law of those countries in which the killings were staged.
  • The assassination of political opponents abroad by order of the Islamic Republic reflected a policy of resorting to extrajudicial executions as an alternative to lawful arrests and fair trials before an impartial and independent judiciary. Considering the scale and breadth of these murders, there may be a basis to conclude that such acts were part of a systematic policy of murder and persecution on political or other impermissible grounds, thus constituting crimes against humanity under international law. 
  • Those within the Iranian state who ordered, instigated, committed, aided and abetted, or otherwise shared the intent of and made a significant contribution to these extrajudicial killings can and should be held individually responsible for international crimes, irrespective of their official capacity.[1]  

3. The Long Arm of the Islamic Republic

Any person who claims that the formation of an Islamic government is not necessary implicitly denies the necessity for the implementation of Islamic law, the universality and comprehensiveness of that law, and the eternal validity of the faith itself.[2]

As Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers consolidated their grip on power in the first months of 1979, they went about their task with a ruthlessness that would become a hallmark of the clerical establishment’s response to political opposition. Summary trials of leading figures associated with the Shah’s rule took place at the Refah School in Tehran, where Ayatollah Khomeini initially lived after his return from exile.[3] A classroom in the school was used by the Extraordinary Islamic Revolutionary Court to hear cases. Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali presided over these trials. Those convicted of such crimes as “corruption on earth” were executed on the roof of the school building, starting on February 15, when four leading generals, including the Head of Sazman-i Ittila’t va Amniyat-i Kishvar (SAVAK), were shot. Ayatollah Khomeini personally approved the sentences handed down by the court.[4]

The summary executions at the school, and throughout the country, continued nonstop for several weeks[5] and drew protests from Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, most other members of the interim government, and international human rights organizations.[6] However, Ayatollah Khomeini was dismissive of such concerns:

Criminals should not be tried. The trial of a criminal is against human rights. Human rights demand that we should have killed them in the first place when it became known that they were criminals … they criticize us because we are executing the brutes. As soon as former SAVAK chief Nasiri’s identity was established, he had to be killed. Despite the fact that he deserved summary execution, he was kept for a few days and was tried. Doesn’t the human rights lobby think that criminals must be killed for the sake of human rights, in order to ensure the rights of man and those whom these people killed, tortured and destroyed? Nevertheless we are trying them and we have tried them. Our belief is that criminals should not be tried and must be killed.[7]

The clerical establishment adhered to much the same logic confronting challenges to its newfound authority as it had in eradicating the vestiges of the Shah’s regime. Ayatollah Khomeini’s supporters moved aggressively against potential rivals within the coalition of forces that had supported the revolution, including secular politicians, proponents of greater regional autonomy and other religious parties such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq. Some of these groups fought back. The new regime saw threats wherever it looked. The Shah’s supporters in exile pledged to overturn the revolution. Khomeini’s refusal to countenance greater autonomy for the province of Kurdistan had provoked a full-scale Kurdish uprising by August 1979. Between November 1979 and January 1981, Iran and the United States were embroiled in the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis. In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded neighboring Afghanistan, further heightening the clerical establishment’s distrust of the communist Tudeh party. In September 1980, war broke out with Iraq and Iraqi forces crossed into Iranian territory. In 1981, the marginalized members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq launched a terrorist campaign that claimed the lives of many prominent members of the clerical establishment, including the President, the Prime Minister and the President of the Supreme Court.[8] Yet the Islamic Republic was able to weather the storm and ultimately force the majority of its opponents into exile. However, the violence of the post-revolutionary period had shaped and hardened the attitudes of many senior figures in the Islamic Republic and the clerical establishment’s pursuit of its enemies would not stop at the country’s edge.

3.1. General Modus Operandi

Agents of the Islamic Republic have assassinated opposition figures in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Pakistan in Asia; Dubai, Iraq, and Turkey in the Middle East; Cyprus, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain in Western Europe; and across the Atlantic in the United States.[9] To date, at least 162 individuals have been victims of a deliberate program of political assassination directed and coordinated at the highest levels of the Iranian government. Attacks are often planned in such a way as to heighten their psychological impact by grouping attacks in a particular location or on a particular organization together. The IRI has favored close quarter assassinations carried out with firearms or knives over the use of explosives.[10] In support of these operations, the Iranian government has made extensive use of trusted surrogates, most notably the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, as well as its own intelligence agents.[11] 

A tactic particularly favored by the IRI is infiltrating an undercover operative into an opposition organization to facilitate attacks. The use of a “Trojan horse” is designed to undermine trust among members of the Iranian dissident community. In its public statements, the IRI has also frequently sought to place the blame for an individual attack on rival opposition organizations or power struggles within a particular group in a further attempt to undermine the cohesion of the opposition movement.[12]

3.2. The Supreme Leader

Until his death in June 1989, the assassinations program operated under Ayatollah Khomeini’s personal authority.[13] In July 1980, as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini was the de facto head of the army and an array of other security organizations – the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij militia, Law Enforcement Forces and intelligence agencies.[14] Ayatollah Khomeini issued fatwas calling for the execution of plotters against the regime and lent his personal authority to individuals associated with political assassinations.

In July 1980, Ayatollah Muhammad Beheshti, the President of the Supreme Court and a member of the Revolutionary Council, responded to a reporter’s question about the alleged creation of a unit to eliminate ‘infidels’:

From an Islamic view, there is no problem with this idea but, since we have an Islamic government now, the activities of such groups must be supervised by a branch of the leadership that would explain and oversee their direction. Basically, this matter has to be supervised by the Supreme Leader of the revolution.[15]

Former Iranian Intelligence officer Abolghassem Mesbahi, a witness in the Mykonos murder trial in Germany, told the Court that he had personally seen an operational order signed by Ayatollah Khomeini authorizing an assassination:

I, myself, in another case, saw such an order with Khomeini’s signature, although I was not the operational commander. This case regarded Khusru Harandi [Hadi Khursandi].[16] Mohammad Musavizadih, the Deputy of Mohammad Reyshahri, then Minister of Intelligence, came to Dusseldorf with a copy of the order. There, me and him [Musavizadih] met with the head of the hit team and his deputy….I was their interpreter and translated the order from Farsi to French.[17]  

3.3. Special Affairs Committee

The Special Affairs Committee was established after Ayatollah Khomeini’s death to make decisions on important matters of state. The committee’s existence is not provided for by the constitution. The fact that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, is the head of the committee, and that the IRI’s “guardianship of the jurist” (Velayat-i Faqih) doctrine endows the Supreme Leader with extraordinary powers, effectively places the committee above both the government and the parliament.[18]

The other permanent members of the Committee include the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Majlis, the Minister of Intelligence, the Foreign Minister, the Interior Minister, the Defense Minister, the Head of the Judiciary, the Head of the Organization for Budgets and Planning, the Head of the Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff, the Commander of the Revolutionary Guards and the Head of the Republic’s Police force.[19] Some individuals with specific skills and experience serve on the committee without a specific portfolio. For example, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri continued to serve on the Committee after he stood down as Minister of Intelligence alongside his successor.[20] Several personal representatives of the Supreme Leader also sit on the Committee. In the mid 1990s, these positions were filled by Hassan Rouhani and Ali Larijani, later Iran’s chief negotiator with the international community on nuclear issues.

One of the issues handled by the Committee was the suppression and elimination of political opposition to the Islamic Republic. As the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Vice-President Hassan Rouhani, told the Iranian newspaper Ettela’at in 1994 “[Iran] will not hesitate to destroy the activities of counterrevolutionary groups abroad.”[21] After Khomeini’s death, the responsibility for recommending individual assassinations fell to the Special Affairs Committee. Once the Committee’s recommendation was approved by the Supreme Leader, an individual committee member would be charged with implementing the decision with the assistance of the Ministry of Intelligence’s[22] Special Operations Council (Shurayih Amaliyat-i Vijih).[23] The council’s operational commanders receive a written order signed by the Supreme Leader authorizing an assassination.[24] The Quds Force was more likely to be assigned to operations in Iran’s neighboring countries such as Iraq or Turkey and the Ministry of Intelligence to operations further afield.[25] Sometimes the two organizations worked together on a particularly challenging case.

 

Emblem of the Ministry of Intelligence of the IRI

3.4. Ministry of Intelligence

In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution a number of competing entities in the new republic – militias, political factions and government organs – nurtured their own intelligence capabilities, running networks of informers and conducting disjointed and uncoordinated investigations. The new Republic confronted serious threats to its stability on many fronts and yet its response to these threats was fragmentary and confused.[26] On October 1, 1982, the Mujahedin-e Khalq planted a bomb near the Ministry of Telecommunications, which killed around seventy people and wounded over 300. Visiting the survivors in hospital, Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi called for the rapid passage of a bill to form a single intelligence agency in Iran to prevent such catastrophes from happening again.[27]

Lawmakers considered a number of proposals, including awarding an exclusive intelligence function to the Revolutionary Guards, whose intelligence office was the country’s preeminent existing intelligence body, subordinating the new intelligence service to the judiciary or placing it under the direct authority of the Office of President. Lawmakers finally opted for the creation of a new Ministry of Intelligence because, under the constitution, ministries fell under the joint supervision of the Prime Minister and the President, as well as the Majlis, and it was hoped that such broad oversight would prevent another SAVAK from forming.[28]

The Code for the Formation of the Ministry of Intelligence was ratified on August 18, 1983, by the Majlis and on September 1 by the Council of the Guardians. The code charges the Ministry of Intelligence with the “gathering, procurement, analysis, and classification of necessary information inside and outside the country”[29] but only sketches in the broadest terms the tools and legal provisions at the disposal of the new Ministry.[30] The Ministry was given the specific responsibility of making anti-opposition measures more efficient.[31] Since its inception, the Ministry of Intelligence has grown to be the largest single government agency in Iran[32] and it is the principal operational mechanism through which the regime can extend its reach overseas.[33]

On May 19, 1983, the Majlis ratified the Code for Determining the Conditions and Specifications of the Head of the Ministry of Intelligence. Only a cleric holding the rank of Ijtihad can head this key ministry.[34] This requirement ensures that the ministry remains within the province of the clerical establishment, despite the legal requirement that its main targets and priorities must be approved by the cabinet and the President of the Republic.[35] The Minister must also be publicly renowned for his sense of “justice and piety” and must not be a member of a political party.[36]

Originally, Prime Minister Mousavi nominated Mr. Isma’il Firdawsipur for the post of Minister of Intelligence, but failed to win the approval of the Majlis for the appointment.[37] Mousavi next offered the post to Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri. The appointment was endorsed by both Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Meshkini, Reyshahri’s father-in-law and the Chairman of the Assembly of the Experts from 1984-2007. Ayatollah Meshkini also confirmed Reyshahri had obtained the necessary level of Ijtihad. Reyshahri accepted the offered post and on August 15, 1984, was introduced to the Majlis as the new candidate for Minister of Intelligence. His appointment was confirmed.[38]

Hojjatoleslam Reyshahri had briefly worked as the religious magistrate of the city of Dezful before being asked to establish the Revolutionary Court of the Armed Forces in early 1980. As Head of the Court, he presided over many of the high-profile trials resulting from the failed Nuzhih coup attempt in July 1980 – perhaps the most significant of the early challenges to the new regime.[39] On April 10, 1982, it was also Reyshahri who announced the discovery of the so-called Ghotbzadeh Plot. Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was a former non-clerical aide of Khomeini’s who had been Foreign Minister in Banisadr’s government. He was accused of plotting a coup with a loose coalition of ‘counter-revolutionary’ confederates who had allegedly secured the backing of Saudi Arabia and the United States, as well as the support of Khomeini’s old clerical rival Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari.[40] Ghotbzadeh was executed on September 15, 1982.[41] In December 1983 and January 1984, Reyshahri also presided over the trials of more than 100 members of the Tudeh Party accused of plotting within the armed forces.[42] As he noted at the time, his court had previously tried “the servants of the West” and was now judging “the servants of the East.”[43] By 1984, there were few members of the clerical establishment who could match his credentials to be head of the Ministry of Intelligence. Reyshahri ran the Ministry from 1984 until 1989.[44]

President Rafsanjani replaced Reyshahri in September 1989 with his deputy, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian. Fallahian ran the Ministry until 1997 and was remarkably frank about the role it played in hunting down opponents of the regime both at home and abroad. In an interview broadcast by the Iranian television (IRIB) on August 30, 1992, Fallahian explained that his Ministry had been successful in disrupting the activities of opposition groups in many ways:

Overall, no opposition groups can be found in this nation at present. They have been forced to flee_… We are currently following them and are constantly watching them outside of this nation. We have infiltrated their central organizations and are informed of their activities. We have been able, thanks to God, to keep their activities under our constant control… Furthermore, we have been able to strike a blow at many of these opposition groups outside or close to our boundaries. As you know, one of these active opposition groups is the Kurdish Democratic Party [of Iran], which through two organs, the main group and the auxiliary department, operates in Kurdistan … we have been able to strike decisive blows at their cadres. The respective main group and auxiliary department suffered severe blows and their activities shrank.[45]     

Fallahian is currently the subject of no less than three international arrest warrants. In addition to his alleged role in the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in July 1994, for which an Interpol Red Notice was posted in November 2007, warrants for his arrest have also been issued by Germany in March 1996 and Switzerland in March 2006 for the leadership role he played in the murder of Iranian dissidents in both countries.[46] Fallahian currently serves on the Council of Experts responsible for selecting Iran’s Supreme Leader and remains an influential figure in Iranian politics as a security advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei.

The monthly journal Payam-i Imruz concluded that Ali Fallahian could be linked to more than eighty assassinations that occurred inside Iran while he was Head of the Ministry, as well as the series of overseas assassinations documented in this report.[47] In 1999, an official Iranian investigation into Fallahian’s activities as Intelligence Minister was suddenly halted after Fallahian hinted publicly that he would name names if the investigation was allowed to continue.[48]

Fallahian was succeeded by Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi who served under President Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2000.[49] Najafabadi was replaced in 2000 by Hojjatoleslam Ali Younesi. Younesi was replaced in 2005 with the accession of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Hojjatoleslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei.

3.5. The Revolutionary Guards

In March 1979, the Revolutionary Council, a body comprised of Ayatollah Khomeini’s closest advisers, recommended the creation of a new military force, the Revolutionary Guards (Sipah-i Pasdaran-i Inqilab-i Islami). In a public statement, the Council laid out the new force’s proposed mission as follows:

Keeping order in cities and provinces, preventing instigations and conspiracies, preventing sabotages in the government and national offices, public places, and embassies, preventing the penetration of opportunist and anti-revolutionary elements in the society, executing the interim government’s orders and the verdicts of the Special Islamic Courts.[50]

 

Emblem of the IRI Revolutionary Guards

Ayatollah Khomeini adopted the Revolutionary Council’s recommendation in an edict issued in April 1979.[51]  Khomeini also invested the Revolutionary Guards with a mission to export the Islamic revolution to oppressed Muslims throughout the world and, as a result, the Guards have been associated with the logistical support and military training of diverse Shi’ite opposition groups from Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.[52] Ironically, the Revolutionary Guards established their command center in the old headquarters of the Shah’s much feared internal security agency, SAVAK.[53]

Mohsen Riza’i was appointed Head of the Revolutionary Guards in 1981, and he held this post until June 1997.[54] In November 2006, the Argentinean authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Riza’i, along with former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian and eight other suspects, for the alleged role played by the Revolutionary Guards in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires.[55] Riza’i is currently Secretary of the IRI’s Expediency Council.[56]

Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, has also appointed other former Revolutionary Guards commanders to top political posts, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.[57] The Revolutionary Guards also currently control the country’s strategic missile forces, the public morality force known as the Basij and are responsible for securing the Iranian capital.[58] The Revolutionary Guards exercise a great deal of influence over Iranian society in a manner which goes far beyond their avowed role as the ‘guardians of the revolution.’ One of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Sazegara, now living in exile in the United States, has described its modern incarnation as being “something like the Communist Party, the KGB, a business complex, and the mafia.”[59]

The Quds Force

The Quds[60] Force (Sipah-i Quds) is a specialized unit of elite members of the Revolutionary Guards – in the words of Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, “the handpicked elite of an already elite ideological army.”[61] The unit’s title reflects the ideological ambition of the Islamic Republic to force the state of Israel out of Palestinian territory. As an organ of the Revolutionary Guards, the force officially answers to the Supreme Leader, not the President.[62]

The Quds Force was formed in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq war. As a clandestine unit, details of its size, strength, budget, and mission are classified, and are even withheld from the Majlis.[63] However, there is wide scholarly consensus that its primary role is to conduct operations outside Iranian territory. Mahan Abedin of the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism and editor of Islamism Digest states:

Its essential function is to conduct special operations outside of Iran, and historically – over the past 25 years or so – it’s been involved in the following theaters: involved in Afghanistan in the 1980s; it had extensive involvement in Lebanon; extensive involvement in Iraq throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, when they were working with Iraqi dissident groups and the Kurdish faction in the north to undermine Saddam [Hussein’s] regime. [The Quds Force] was extensively involved in Bosnia in the early 1990s; it was in charge of supplying arms to the Bosnian Muslims. Their operations – which have rarely received any coverage – [included] their involvement in southern Sudan in the early 1990s, when they worked with the Sudanese army. So it’s been involved in various theaters.[64]

The Quds Force is the main partner used by the Ministry of Intelligence in its overseas operations. Typically, the Quds operates autonomously in the Middle East and Asia but will provide support to missions further afield when required, as in the case of Dr. Abdol Rahman Ghassemlou’s assassination in Vienna.[65] Indeed, the current commander of the Quds Force Intelligence Directorate, Guards Corps Brigadier General Muhammad-Jafar Sahraroudi, was briefly detained by the Austrian authorities in connection with the Ghassemlou assassination (see 4.4. below). The Quds Force reportedly maintains offices in many Iranian embassies and has a strong operational presence in Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, and several North African countries.[66]

On October 25, 2007, the United States government designated the Quds Force and the Revolutionary Guards as supporters of terrorism for “providing material support to the Taliban, Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)” and also “providing lethal support in the form of weapons, training, funding, and guidance to select groups of Iraqi Shi’a militants who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi forces and innocent Iraqi civilians.”[67]

3.6. Lebanese Hezbollah

The Islamic Republic of Iran has enjoyed a close relationship with Lebanese Hezbollah since its inception. A small force of approximately 170 Revolutionary Guards was deployed to Lebanon during the summer of 1982 in response to the Israeli incursion.[68] The Revolutionary Guards initially worked with the Islamic Amal militia, while Ayatollah Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, worked behind the scenes to mediate the merger of Islamic Amal with both Lebanese al-Da’wa and the Association of Muslim Students to create Hezbollah.[69] In 1985, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Mohtashemi was promoted to Interior Minister in the government of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a position he held until 1996.[70] In the words of former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst Kenneth M. Pollack: “Iran was the principal moving force behind Hizballah [sic], providing it with an organizational structure, training, material support, moral guidance, and often operational direction.”[71]

The Revolutionary Guards were the conduit through which the Islamic Republic managed its relationship with Hezbollah. In April 1991, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Forces in Lebanon, Hadi Reza Askari, characterized the relationship thus in an interview with the Voice of Lebanon: “The Guards is not a militia; our mission is to train the people to fight Israel.”[72] On October 18, 1987, Hezbollah Secretary-General Abbas al-Mussawi asserted that the Revolutionary Guards were not merely seen by Hezbollah as “a normal part of our Islamic body, but as the head.”[73] Al-Mussawi had been among the first group of Hezbollah members to receive military training from the Revolutionary Guards in 1982.[74]

Lebanese Hezbollah accepts the concept of vilayat-i faqih and acknowledged first Ayatollah Khomeini and then Ayatollah Khamenei as the faqih.[75] Article 5 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran defines the faqih as a just and pious jurist who is recognized by the majority of the people as best qualified to lead the nation. The constitution vests supreme authority in the faqih. Many devout Shi’as consider the faqih to be the divinely ordained and inspired deputy of the Twelfth Imam during his occultation.[76] Hezbollah first publicly pledged its loyalty to Ayatollah Khomeini in a manifesto issued in February 1985.[77] This pledge of loyalty was publicly renewed to Ayatollah Khamenei in March 1997.[78] Speaking during a television interview in May 1996, Hezbollah Secretary General al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah[79] drew an important distinction between the organization’s veneration of Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei as religious authorities and their role as successive heads of the Iranian state.[80] In this sense, it can be said that Lebanese Hezbollah’s special relationship is with the Islamic Republic’s conservative clerical establishment, rather than the Iranian government itself.[81] A good example of this special relationship is the instrumental role played by Ayatollah Khomeini’s personal envoy, Fazlollah Mahallati, in the establishment of Hezbollah’s consultative assembly, the Majlis al-Shura.[82]

4. Individual Cases

From the first overseas assassination in December 1979, senior officials within the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) have demonstrated a commitment to seeking and eliminating sources of opposition to clerical rule, wherever they may be found overseas. Although it is not possible to compose a definitive list of all the victims claimed by this policy,[83] the IHRDC has identified 162 cases in which exiled opponents of the regime were murdered in circumstances where the involvement of the Iranian government was either explicit or strongly suspected.[84].

For the purposes of this report, we have selected nine cases that illustrate different aspects of how the Iranian regime’s assassination program operated. The victims involved all shared one common characteristic – they were actively opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. They come from across the political spectrum and include both boldface names and less well-known activists. Taken together, and in conjunction with the IHRDC’s Murder at Mykonos report, they provide powerful evidence of a coordinated and extended policy of state-sponsored assassination that showed a complete disregard for national legal regimes across several continents, and was designed with only one objective in mind: the eradication of opposition to clerical rule in Iran.

4.1. Shahriar Shafiq

 

Shahriar Shafiq

 Shahriar Shafiq,[85] the Shah’s nephew, was assassinated in Paris on December 7, 1979. He was the first opponent of the revolutionary regime living outside Iran to be killed. Like the rest of the Shah’s family, Shafiq had been living under a death sentence imposed by Khomeini’s Islamic revolutionaries after they had driven the Shah into exile. [86]  

From the earliest days of the revolution, Khomeini and his supporters had been apprehensive about the possibility of a counter-coup mounted by elements still loyal to the Shah. The Revolutionary Courts announced the execution of more than 600 people associated with the previous regime, including former Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveida, three successive heads of SAVAK and numerous military and SAVAK officers.[87] Some former regime figures who had been unable to escape into exile went underground inside Iran, further fueling fears of conspiracy. The regime was particularly concerned by the potential threat posed by the Shah and his extended family:

The wretched Pahlavi Family and their associates, who have an execution verdict issued against them, are being pursued by us inside and outside of the country. If we cannot arrest them, we will assassinate them.[88]

Prince Shahriar Shafiq appeared to represent a particular threat. An energetic thirty-four-year-old former officer captain in the Imperial Iranian Navy, he had been the only member of the Pahlavi dynasty to stay inside Iran after the revolution and continue fighting against the Islamic revolutionaries before being forced into exile. After arriving in Paris he took active steps to start organizing resistance inside Iran.[89]

Prince Shafiq was shot dead twice as he was on his way to visit his mother, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi.[90] He was hit in the neck and head by two bullets fired by an unidentified man who fled the scene.[91] Ettella’at, quoting an eyewitness, stated: “A young man, wearing a motorcycle helmet to cover his face, came close to Shafiq and shot him in his neck from a close distance. As Shafiq fell, the gunman leaned over him and fired a second bullet into his head and immediately ran away.”[92] The French Police said that they found two 9mm cartridge casings at the scene.[93]

According to French reports, an anonymous caller took responsibility for the assassination, declaring that Prince Shahriar had been killed as an enemy of the faith, the revolutionaries and the people of Iran, and for aiding international Zionism, before concluding, “long live Khomeini!”[94] Meanwhile, in Tehran, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, the leader of Fadaiyan-i Islam [Islam’s Devotees] and the first religious magistrate of the revolutionary courts,[95] issued a statement published in Kayhan that claimed members of Fadaiyan-i Islam were responsible for the attack.[96]

Khalkhali stated that Shafiq had been killed because he was preparing a plot against the Islamic Republic to bring the Shah back to power.[97] Shafiq and his sister Azadeh had been acting as the royal family’s principal spokesmen.[98] Khalkhali said: “We were lucky … We were after his mother but we got him instead.”[99] He later added that his guerrillas would continue to hunt down former regime figures: “This will continue until all these dirty pawns of the decadent system have been purged.”[100] In 2005, Khalkhali was prompted by a French journalist to reflect on his role in ordering the killing of opponents of the Islamic Republic. He responded: “If I had acted wrongly, Imam Khomeini would have told me. I only did what he asked me to do.”[101]

The Shah’s death in exile on August 27, 1980, took some of the momentum out of the royalist cause. The Shah was ‘succeeded’ by his son Reza Pahlavi who pursued a policy of forging links with the various opposition factions while also trying to remain apart from factional infighting.[102] In his public statements, Pahlavi pledged to return as a constitutional monarch in the event of a restoration: “I am not for the Left, the Right or the past. I am for the future. I believe that I represent a new page in our history, a new message.”[103]

4.2. Ali Akbar Tabatabai

 

Ali Akbar Tabatabai

 Ali Akbar Tabatabai was shot dead at his home in Maryland, U.S.A., on July 22, 1980.[104] Tabatabai, a well-known figure in diplomatic circles, had served as a former press attaché for the Iranian Embassy in Washington, D.C.[105] After the revolution, he became a vocal critic of Ayatollah Khomeini and made a number of appearances in the U.S. media.[106] He was the founder and president of the Iran Freedom Foundation, an organization opposed to the Islamic Republic and dedicated to the creation of a secular democracy in Iran.[107]  He was assassinated five days before a planned anti-Khomeini demonstration he had been organizing[108] and only an hour before a scheduled radio interview.[109]

Tabatabai’s assassin, David Belfield, also known as Daoud Salahuddin,[110] fled to Tehran where he received a warm welcome. An African-American Muslim convert who became involved with pro-Khomeini activists in the late 1970s, Salahuddin has since repeatedly described the details of the assassination and his relationship with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[111]  In an interview featured in the 2006 documentary American Fugitive, Salahuddin nonchalantly recounted, “when [Tabatabai] came to the door for a signature, I shot him. Simple.”[112]

Salahuddin had been acquainted with pro-Khomeini activists since his conversion to Islam in February 1969.[113] As his local mosque’s public relations manager, Salahuddin met a number of Iranians, including World Bank economist Ali Agha, Baylor University Professor Ibrahim Yazdi and Georgetown rug merchant Bahram Nahidian, all of whom were organizing support for Khomeini among students in the United States.[114] Salahuddin began spending time at an Islamic House run by Nahidian, who was said to be one of Ayatollah Khomeini’s most active supporters in America.[115]  The student center was a meeting place and a staging area for demonstrations in support of Ayatollah Khomeini.[116]  On November 4, 1979 – the same day that Islamic militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Iran and took more than fifty diplomats hostage – Salahuddin joined Nahidian and a group of other Iranians who chained themselves to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, unfurling banners denouncing the Shah of Iran and asking for the Shah’s trial and punishment.[117]

In December 1979, Ali Agha, who had become Chargé d’Affaires at the Iranian Embassy, offered Salahuddin employment as a security guard at the Iranian Embassy.[118] Salahuddin accepted the post and also reportedly attended regular ‘Islamic discussion sessions’ led by the Chargé.[119] After the U.S. and Iran severed diplomatic relations in April 1980, Salahuddin was put in charge of the security of the Iranian Interest Section at the Algerian Embassy.[120]  

In June 1980, according to Salahuddin, he was approached by an Iranian “student” working at the Iranian Interest Section of the Algerian Embassy[121] who asked him if he would be prepared to carry out an arson attack on the Wisconsin Avenue offices of the Iran Times, a publication which had recently accused Khomeini’s government of corruption.[122] Salahuddin assented and, with the help of an American friend and 10 gallons of gasoline, he caused $50,000 worth of damage to the offices and got away undiscovered.[123]

Salahuddin’s contact next asked him if he was ready to “kill for the Iranian Government” and showed him a list of five individuals the regime in Tehran wanted assassinated.[124] He was given five weeks and five thousand dollars to accomplish this task.[125] Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s name appeared at the top of the list of potential targets shown to Salahuddin.[126] Although Salahuddin believed Tabatabai to be the chief liaison between expatriate counterrevolutionary forces and the CIA, and thus a threat to the IRI, he was concerned that the assassination of an Iranian might not attract enough attention. He suggested to his contact that their goals would be better served by targeting prominent Americans.[127] In an interview with the American television news program 20/20, Salahuddin described the conversation:

Tom Jarriel: How was the decision made then, to carry [the assassination] out?

Daoud Salahuddin: I assume that the decision came from what was the Revolutionary Council in Iran, in Tehran. That’s my assumption.

Jarriel: Who told you that this man needed to be killed or was he one of several people who were on a list?

Salahuddin: No, it was an Iranian friend of mine who told me about this order. He just said an order from the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini][128] and that was, that Tabatabai was, had been, chosen. I was presented with other names, too. When they showed me the list, I said that if you really want to make an impression, you should think about a person like [former U.S. Secretary of State] Henry Kissinger.

Jarriel: Kissinger?

Salahuddin: As I explained, why shoot the small dog when you can shoot his master?[129]

Salahuddin’s contact, however, insisted “no Americans,” fearing the repercussions would be too severe.[130]  Salahuddin has claimed that he was promised that if he carried out the killings, the regime would pay for him to go to Hong Kong to study traditional medicine and martial arts.[131] 

Although Salahuddin spent five weeks planning the assassination,[132] he lacked essential information about his target.  He had never seen him in person, nor did he know that Ali Akbar Tabatabai had a twin brother who also lived in Bethesda.[133] Salahuddin thought that an effective way to get close to a stranger would be to masquerade as a postal worker.  To that end, he bribed a mailman friend to lend him his work vehicle[134] and purchased a uniform from the Postal Service store.[135] 

On July 22, 1980, Salahuddin dressed as a mailman and drove a U.S. Postal Service truck toward Tabatabai’s house. He stopped at a nearby pay phone to call the residence; when Tabatabai answered, Salahuddin hung up. Within a few minutes, he parked his vehicle in front of Tabatabai’s house at 9313 Friars Road, Bethesda, Maryland.  He approached the house carrying two parcels, in one of which he had concealed a handgun.[136] Tabatabai had no security measures in place except for strict orders to aides not to open the front door to strangers.[137] When Salahuddin arrived at Tabatabai’s door dressed as a postal worker, it was opened by an assistant. He told the assistant that he needed Tabatabai’s signature for two special delivery packages. The assistant insisted that he could sign for Tabatabai and an argument ensued. The noise prompted Tabatabai to come to the door to see what was happening[138] and Salahuddin shot him three times using a 9mm pistol.[139] Salahuddin reported that Tabatabai was still standing up – perhaps in a state of shock – when he fled the scene.[140] However, forty-five minutes after the shooting, Tabatabai was pronounced dead at a local hospital.[141]

Salahuddin had planned on flying out of New York immediately after the assassination, but fearing that that route might be risky, he opted instead to head to an airport in Montreal, Canada.[142] There, he purchased a ticket to Paris, and on this flight he recalls reading about his involvement in the assassination in the International Herald Tribune.[143] He next flew to Geneva, arriving at the Iranian Embassy there forty-eight hours after leaving Montreal. Even after showing the embassy officials a news article recounting the assassination, Salahuddin was not granted a visa to travel on to Iran.[144] Only after calling an Iranian friend, Said Ramadan, who in turn contacted Ayatollah Khomeini’s son, was Salahuddin granted a visa.[145]

Approximately a week later, he arrived at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran where he was escorted by Revolutionary Guards through the V.I.P. diplomatic lounge.[146] From there he claims he was taken to what he described as a “strained” meeting with Iran’s foreign minister, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, but the two men did not discuss Tabatabai’s death.[147] Initially thinking he would stay in Iran for only five or six months, Salahuddin spent his first nine months in a safe house under the protection of the Revolutionary Guards.[148] During this period, he also received a private 35-minute meeting with Khomeini where, according to Salahuddin, Khomeini acknowledged “the thing with the gentleman in Bethesda.”[149]

While Salahuddin displayed little remorse for the assassination, he expressed regret for his “shoddy planning, which put [his friends] behind bars for years.”[150]  Horace Butler, also known as Ahmed Rauf, was convicted of helping Salahuddin obtain a U.S. Postal Service truck and disposing of the murder weapon, a 9mm pistol.[151] Al Fletcher Hunter, also known as Abu Bakr Zaid Sharriff, confessed, as part of a plea agreement, to driving Salahuddin to Montreal after the murder.[152] Ali Abdul-Mani, also known as Lee Curtis Manning, was initially convicted of being an accessory to murder for providing the rental car in which Salahuddin was driven to Montreal, although this conviction was overturned on appeal.[153]  In addition, Abdul-Mani was convicted of two counts of lying to a Grand Jury.[154] Tyrone Frazier, a former mailman, pleaded guilty to a charge that he had accepted $500 in return for letting Salahuddin use his postal truck in the slaying.[155]

On January 3, 1981, The Washington Post reported that an additional suspect had been identified in Tabatabai’s assassination: Musa Abdul Majid, a.k.a. Derrick Pritchett, a Washington cabdriver with a conviction for making fraudulent weapons purchases in Virginia. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents searching Majid’s apartment discovered spent 9mm cartridges that matched those recovered from the murder scene in Bethesda. The Agents also seized 80 boxes of ammunition, a pistol, a rifle and shotgun from the apartment. Majid had managed to flee the country prior to his sentencing for the weapons violations. Salahuddin and Majid had worked together as security officers at the Iranian Interests Section in Washington D.C.[156]

Salahuddin remains an international fugitive to this day. U.S. authorities have charged him with murder, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and other offenses.[157] While his case has never been tried, he has given interviews in which he has admitted to shooting Tabatabai. His statements have been consistent with the FBI’s allegations against him.

After his meeting with Ayatollah Khomeini and his nine-month stay in a Revolutionary Guard safe house, Salahuddin began to enjoy greater freedom of movement. He made trips to the Middle East and Central Asia but spent the majority of his time in Iran.  He volunteered to fight for Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, but the authorities did not take him up on the offer.[158] However, he was given a job with Iran’s state news agency. He also held jobs as an English teacher for the Revolutionary Guards and as a moderator on an Iranian television show.[159] Salahuddin worked as a war correspondent for an English-language newspaper in Iran.[160] During this period he traveled to Lebanon, Libya and Syria.  He was also in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf war.[161] 

Salahuddin has claimed that in 1985 officials at Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence approached him about carrying out assassinations outside of Iran – specifically, assassinating Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and an Afghan drug lord – but nothing came of the proposal.[162] In 1986, he joined the mujaheddin forces fighting to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan.[163]

In 2001, Salahuddin appeared in the film Kandahar, which was based on a true life episode in which an Afghan exile returned to Afghanistan to rescue a friend.[164] He played one of the supporting characters – an American exile with a Christian background who had worked as a journalist in Tehran and also with the mujaheddin.[165] While the director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, insists that he did not know the actor’s past when casting him for the movie, Salahuddin’s status as a wanted American fugitive attracted the movie a great deal of attention.[166] As a result, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office also began to reexamine the case against Salahuddin so that, were he to return to the U.S., they would be prepared to prosecute him.[167] 

In recent years, Salahuddin, although still apparently residing in Iran, has become dissatisfied with the Islamic Republic.  In one interview, he complained:

The corruption here among the highest levels of the mullahs is incredible – it includes financial malfeasance, gross human-rights violations, extrajudicial murder, and two systems of justice, one for the mullahs, and one for the citizens.[168] 

 

Gholam Ali Oveisi

In fact, Salahuddin now dismisses Tabatabai’s assassination as “a waste of time and energy,” given the ultimate failure of the Islamic Republic to achieve its promised goals.[169]  In 1993, he reportedly offered to return to United States to face the charges against him, but only on condition that the Department of Justice would ensure that numerous high-ranking U.S. officials would take the witness stand in his trial and that he was guaranteed certain luxuries, such as a stipend, while awaiting trial.[170] His offer was evidently rejected.[171]

4.3. General Gholam Ali Oveisi

On February 7, 1984, General Gholam Ali Oveisi and his brother, Gholam Hossein Oveisi, were both shot in the head from close range on a Paris street.[172]  They died instantly.[173]  The French Police described the gunmen responsible as professional assassins.[174] 

General Oveisi was the former Military Governor of Tehran and he had made a name for himself in September 1977 by deploying tanks on the streets of the city to quell popular unrest against the Shah. His actions had earned him the sobriquet “the butcher of Tehran.”[175] He also served as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in the short-lived 1978 military government of Prime Minster Gholam Reza Azhari.[176] He fled the country in January 1979.[177]

In exile, Oveisi attracted a number of former royalist army officers to his banner, including General Javad Mu’inzadih, the Head of Azadegan (Free Men), General Bahram Aryana and General Habibollah Palizban, a Kurd with good contacts in his fractious home province. Oveisi received substantial financial backing from the Shah’s family and ran an anti-clerical radio station based in Iraq, called the Free Voice of Iran.[178] Writer Cyrus Kadivar also alleges that Oveisi was involved in organizing a “professional army of Iranian counterrevolutionaries” on the Iran-Turkey border for “eventual deployment in a ‘liberation drive.’”[179]  Oveisi himself claimed to have recruited a cadre of 7,000 retired military officers and 90,000 volunteers to his cause.[180] According to Kadivar, Oveisi’s death dealt a major setback to these forces, which were later disbanded.[181]

Evidence suggests that the revolutionary authorities treated Oveisi as a very real threat. In a press interview recorded in his memoirs, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, a religious judge and Chairman of the Revolutionary Court, announced the death sentence passed on Oveisi and others who had held prominent positions in the last regime:

The deposed Shah, Farah [the Queen], Farideh Diba [Farah’s Mother], Gholamreza Pahlavi, Ashraf [Shah’s twin sister], Shapour Bakhtiar, General Azhari, Sharif Emami, General Oveisi … who in Iran’s view are all criminals, are condemned to death. Any Iranian who kills one of these people in foreign countries is considered an agent executing a court order.[182]

Khalkhali, in a speech in Shiraz on July 17, 1979, made it clear that the revolutionary authorities were looking for Oveisi.[183] In May and June 1980, the Iranian regime claimed to have disrupted two plots linked to Oveisi’s network and arrested dozens of serving officers.[184] A newspaper article published in Ettella’at on November 16, 1982, reported on the trial of eight Royalists accused of having a “connection with criminal Oveisi.”[185]

Two groups – Islamic Jihad and another calling itself the Revolutionary Organization for Liberation and Reform – both claimed responsibility for Oveisi’s killing.[186] The day after Oveisi’s murder, the Government of Iran reportedly characterized the killings as a “revolutionary execution”.[187] Spokespersons for several Iranian exile organizations opposing the Islamic Republic publicly accused the Iranian government of ordering the killings in an attempt to intimidate opposition groups.[188]

 

Dr. Abdol-Rahman Ghassemlou

4.4. Dr. Abdol-Rahman Ghassemlou

On July 13, 1989, Dr. Abdol-Rahman Ghassemlou,[189] Secretary General of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI),[190] Mr. Abdollah Ghaderi-Azar,[191] the PDKI’s representative in Europe, and Mr. Fazil Rassoul,[192] an Iraqi Kurd serving as a mediator, were murdered in a Vienna apartment during a confidential meeting with delegates from the Iranian government.[193]

The PDKI had been forced underground in 1979 and the leadership of the party had been driven into exile by a major IRI offensive in July 1984.[194] At the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, Jalal Talibani, leader of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), informed Dr. Ghassemlou that the Iranian government was ready to reopen talks with the PDKI.[195] Dr. Ghassemlou saw this as a positive development and agreed to meet the IRI negotiators in Vienna.[196] On December 30 and 31, 1988, Dr. Ghassemlou met with an Iranian delegation headed by Mohammad Jafari Sahraroudi, the Head of the Kurdish Affairs Section of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.[197] Further meetings took place on January 19, 1989,[198] and in March 1989. However, when Dr. Ghassemlou did not attend the March session, Sahraroudi terminated the negotiations, refusing to continue in the absence of the PDKI Secretary-General.[199]

In June 1989, shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s death,[200] Amir Mansour Bozorgian (a.k.a. Ghaffoor Darjazi) informed the PDKI that the IRI was willing to resume negotiations.[201] Dr. Ghassemlou suggested a meeting in Paris, but the IRI delegation indicated a preference for either Vienna or Berlin.[202] Dr. Ghassemlou acquiesced, apparently optimistic that progress could be made in these new sessions.[203] The IRI representatives had informed the Secretary-General that Hojjatoleslam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was pressing for a speedy resolution of the Kurdish situation.[204] As Speaker of the Majlis, Rafsanjani was also a highly favored candidate for the Iranian Presidency.[205]

The venue for these new negotiations was an apartment in a building located at 5 Linke Bahngasse, Vienna, made available by Fazil Rassoul.[206] The building door was secured by an intercom system and three security locks. Before the negotiation session began, neither one of the parties knew of the location nor the layout of the building. On July 12, Rassoul separately picked up and delivered both Dr. Ghassemlou and the IRI delegation to this venue. With the first day of negotiations yielding no progress, the parties resolved to meet again the following day at 5:30 p.m.[207]

On July 13, at the appointed hour, Dr. Ghassemlou and Abdollah Ghaderi-Azar[208] arrived at the apartment, having taken no security precautions. Rassoul was also present in his role of facilitator. They were soon joined by the Iranian government delegation, which consisted of Mohammad Jafari Sahraroudi, Mostafa Ajoudi, the Iranian Governor of the Province of Kurdistan, and Amir Mansour Bozorgian.[209]

An audiotape made of the meeting recorded Rassoul and Dr. Ghassemlou proposing a break and suggesting that negotiations be resumed the next day at 6:00 p.m.[210] Shortly after this proposal, there was a flurry of gunshots, in which two weapons could distinctly be heard. Dr. Ghassemlou was shot in the forehead, temple and throat; Rassoul was shot three times in the head and twice in the neck; Ghaderi-Azar was hit by one bullet in the back of his head, two bullets in his waist, one bullet in his temple, one bullet in his throat, one bullet in his shoulder and one bullet in the index finger of his right hand. Ghaderi-Azar’s injuries suggest that he may have tried to fight back against his attackers. A final shot to the head was delivered to all three victims. Police would later recover blood and tissue samples from the victims on the murder weapons suggesting that these shots were fired at very close range.[211] Jafari Sahraroudi was also wounded. He was hit by one bullet that entered his left arm, exited near his shoulder, reentered his throat and came to rest in his mouth.[212]

Sahraroudi staggered from the apartment at approximately 7:20 p.m. and rang the neighbor’s doorbell seeking help. The neighbor called the police, who arrived at the scene at 7:37 p.m.[213] Sahraroudi remained in the street until the police arrived, while Bozorgian was reported to have briefly left the scene on a motorcycle before returning on foot.[214] On his return, Bozorgian accompanied two police officers into the apartment where the meeting had occurred.[215] After the discovery of the bodies, the officers took Bozorgian into custody. Sahraroudi was taken to the hospital. Ajoudi was nowhere to be seen.

Sahraroudi and Bozorgian were interrogated separately by the Austrian authorities, Sahraroudi at the hospital and Bozorgian at the police station.[216] Sahraroudi told investigators that at the end of the negotiations, two or three assailants entered the room after throwing open the door. He explained that he was injured before being able to look at the men, and once injured pretended to be dead in order to deceive the assailants. Sahraroudi claimed that Bozorgian was in the bathroom at the time of the shootings.[217] Bozorgian, who was supposedly present at the negotiations to provide security for the Iranian delegation, claimed to have gone to McDonald’s and was not even in the building at the time of the shootings.[218] Once his police interview was completed, Bozorgian insisted on being taken to the Iranian embassy.[219]

Despite the fact that the statements given by Bozorgian and Sahraroudi were contradictory,[220] initial police media statements indicate that the Austrian police may have been taken in by the Iranian delegate’s cover story, that the murders had been committed by unknown outsiders who burst into the negotiations,[221] shooting all the Kurds and Sahraroudi alike.[222]

Like Bozorgian, Sahraroudi was soon released from police custody. He was given permission to leave the country and the Austrian police actually escorted him to the airport on July 22, 1989, and helped him board the flight to Tehran. The Chief of the Political Division of the Austrian Police informed his opposite number in the Austrian Special Anti-Terrorism Unit that a group of Iranian diplomats had arrived in Vienna the previous day and that they would be accompanying Sahraroudi on his flight back to Tehran.[223]

Bozorgian is believed to have left Austria by air on November 30, 1989.[224] Mostafa Ajoudi was never apprehended. A fourth suspect, Mohammade Magaby, was identified in the media but although Austrian investigators interviewed Magaby, he was released without charge.[225] There have also been repeated media reports linking current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Vienna killings and suggesting that he was a member of the team of diplomats sent to Vienna to accompany Sahraroudi back to Tehran, but the IHRDC has found no compelling evidence in the course of its research to support this accusation.[226] 

Oswald Kessler, the head of the Austrian Special Anti-Terrorism Unit, reached a number of preliminary conclusions after surveying the crime scene and reviewing the initial evidence in the immediate aftermath of the killings: There was no evidence of a forced entry into the apartment where the killings took place; all three Kurdish victims had received  coups de grâce to ensure death; Dr. Ghassemlou and Rassoul were caught by surprise and killed in the seated position; Ajoudi had fled the scene; the killers were most likely familiar with the layout of the apartment; it appeared that the assassins had succeeded in gaining the victims’ trust. Kessler concluded that the killings had the feel of an intelligence operation about them[227] and told reporters:

The Kurds were murdered and the representatives of the Islamic Republic survived. To us [the police], the situation is completely clear. From now on, decisions are in the hands of the politicians. [228]

Mr. Kessler’s hypothesis was later bolstered by further evidence. Analysis of the shooting determined that the assassins could not have fired at the Kurds from the doorway. The trajectory of the bullets indicated that they had been fired from the direction of the IRI delegation.[229] Furthermore, discarded shell casings were found where the IRI negotiators had been sitting and not near the doorway. A senior Austrian government official told Time magazine:

Bozorgian and Sahraroudi told us someone had forced their way into the room and opened fire. They lied. By all appearances, the murderers were inside the room at the time of the crime.[230]

Two automatic pistols equipped with silencers and a bloodstained windbreaker were eventually discovered in a garbage dump, along with the key to a Suzuki motorcycle.[231] A bill of sale found with the key led the police to a salesman who identified Sahraroudi as having purchased the bike. Sahraroudi had used the pseudonym Mostafa Mostafavi for the transaction.[232]

The Austrian Public Prosecutor finally issued warrants for the arrest of Bozorgian, Sahraroudi and Ajoudi on November 28, 1989, three months after they were escorted by the Austrian Police to the airport.[233] Mohammad Jafari Sahraroudi was subsequently promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Revolutionary Guards and became the Head of the Quds Forces Intelligence Directory.[234]

The Austrian government’s slow response to the attack created a national outcry in Austria. The Green Party accused the government of “collapsing in the face of terrorism” and the daily newspaper Der Standard charged that “the authorities did everything to facilitate the departure of witnesses and suspects to avoid light being shed [on the case].”[235] In response to a Foreign Ministry official’s protest that Iran had threatened reprisals if its nationals were taken into custody, the daily newspaper Arbeiter Zeitung responded that: “This kowtowing to Iran will protect Austria for a while from the mullahs’ wrath. But it’s an invitation saying, ‘Austria’s pretty; come here to kill.’”[236]

Unsatisfied with the results of the investigation, Dr. Ghassemlou’s widow, Ms. Helene Krulich, filed suit against the Republic of Austria on August 2, 1991.[237] She accused the government of refraining from investigating the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou diligently and allowing the assassins to leave Austria safely. She alleged that the Austrian government willfully barred the police authorities from investigating the case because of pressure from the IRI and illegal arms deals between the state-owned Austrian enterprise “Voest” and the Iranian government during the Iran-Iraq war.[238] She claimed damages of 963,216.48 ATS for the funeral expenses of her husband.

The Austrian court dismissed the case without hearing evidence, ruling that Ms. Krulich had failed to make a prime facie case and that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a case against the IRI. This decision was confirmed by the Appellate Court of Vienna (Oberlandesgericht Wien) and dismissed on September 15, 1992.[239] A “top-level Vienna bureaucrat” told Time:

No country wants to prosecute a terrorist case. It’s a threat to your government, your stability, to your penal system. A convicted terrorist faces a life sentence, which means in Austria at least 15 years. That means 15 years you are at risk.[240]

In September 1992, in the Mykonos Restaurant in Berlin, Dr. Ghassemlou’s successor, Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, and three others were shot and killed (See the IHRDC report Murder at Mykonos). Germany arrested, put on trial and convicted several perpetrators. During the trial, testimony from Mr. Ostrawits, a senior officer from the Austrian Police, plainly stated that with regard to the Vienna assassination, the trail led to the highest levels of authority in the IRI. The Court also noted the testimony of Professor Steinbach and a report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). The BfV report identified the Iranian delegates in Vienna as agents of the Special Operations Committee (Shuray-i Amaliyat-i Vijih)[241] attached to the Unit of Operations Abroad of the Ministry of Intelligence of the IRI.[242]

The German court went on to describe the events leading up to the assassination. It determined that Hadi Judi, Mohammad Jafari Sahraroudi and Mehdi Hadavi Moghaddam[243] prepared and presented a report to the Ministry of Intelligence recommending the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou. The Special Operations Committee then approved the operation. Further, the court concluded that, due to the successful completion of his mission to assassinate Dr. Ghassemlou, Mehdi Hadavi Moghaddam was assigned the task of preparing a plan for the assassination of Dr. Sharafkandi:

The red line which connects the events in Vienna and Berlin is undeniable. It is inconceivable that [these events] can be traced back to conflicts between the Kurdish opposition groups.[244]

4.5. Kazem Rajavi

 

Dr. Kazem Rajavi

 Dr. Kazem Rajavi, a former IRI Ambassador to the United Nations and the brother of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) leader, Massoud Rajavi, was shot dead in his car while driving home on April 24, 1990. He was hit by at least five bullets fired at close range from a machine gun.[245]

Dr. Rajavi was an active member of the MEK who frequently acted as the organization’s representative before international bodies. He had been particularly engaged in the session of the UN Human Rights Commission held in February and March 1990,[246] refuting a UN report claiming that the human rights situation in Iran was improving, and that torture and public executions had been halted.[247] In January 1990, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Sirous Nasseri, reportedly warned Dr. Rajavi in front of witnesses: “We will kill you.”[248] He was murdered only a few weeks later.

Dr. Rajavi had moved back to Iran from exile in France in 1968 to campaign against the Shah’s regime and put pressure on the Shah to commute the death sentence that had been passed against his brother Massoud, then a political prisoner of SAVAK, into life imprisonment.[249] Rajavi also worked with other opposition groups, including those in the circle around Ayatollah Khomeini.

Dr. Rajavi received his appointment as the IRI’s first Ambassador to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva in recognition of the role he had played in this period. He soon resigned this post in protest at the repressive policies of the post-revolutionary regime and sought political asylum in Switzerland.[250] Rajavi taught at universities in Paris and Geneva and was the author of numerous books, both in Farsi and French, including The Iranian Revolution and the Mujahedin (1975), and The Disintegration of Iranian Society and World Trade (1987).

Shortly before noon on April 24, 1990, Rajavi was driving to his home in Tannay, a Geneva suburb. In nearby Coppet, his car was suddenly blocked by a Volkswagen Golf. A gunman in the Golf sprayed his windshield with bullets.[251] A second car drew alongside Rajavi’s stationary vehicle and two men with guns jumped out. Rajavi was shot five times in the head and was killed instantly.[252]

The Volkswagen Golf used in the attack was soon found by local police abandoned at Geneva’s Cointrin airport. The Swiss authorities delayed that afternoon’s flight to Tehran for two hours, while they noted the identity of every passenger.[253] The aircraft was eventually allowed to leave without any of the passengers being detained. The second car associated with the attack was not found immediately by police. American intelligence officers reportedly later relayed information obtained by an eavesdropping device to their Swiss colleagues, which led them to conclude that the second car was hidden somewhere on the premises of the diplomatic mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva.[254] This was not a lead the Swiss police were ever able to follow up.

News of the assassination was greeted by the clerical establishment in Iran with some satisfaction. The prominent conservative Hojjatolislam Mohsen Qara’ati reaffirmed the regime’s duty to pursue its enemies throughout the world in a radio address delivered on April 25, 1990, and he endorsed the use of violence as a means of silencing dissent:

Catch them and execute them, because they are willing neither to become faithful nor to be quiet…This is not easy, of course, for it requires a harsh approach and killings.[255] 

The Swiss investigation quickly identified two men as the suspected killers, Yadollah Samadi and Mohammad Rezvani,[256] and concluded that at least eleven additional persons were involved in the planning and execution of the assassination. Two of these suspected co-conspirators were senior Iranian government officials: Hadi Najafabadi, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and Mehdi Akhundzadeh Basti.[257] International arrest warrants were issued for all thirteen men on June 15, 1990.[258] In a public statement issued on June 22, 1990, Roland Chatelain, the investigating magistrate, stated that “the police officers in charge of the investigation have collected evidence of various kinds to support the conclusion that one or more Iranian official services [were] directly involved in the assassination of Mr. Kazem Rajavi.”[259]

Yadollah Samadi and Mohammad Rezvani had entered Switzerland on Iranian diplomatic passports and were thought to be affiliated with Iranian embassies in Europe. All thirteen individuals thought to be associated with the plot traveled on newly issued official Iranian government passports and listed the same building – 80 Karimkhan Street in Tehran – as their personal address.[260] 80 Karimkhan Street is an office building reportedly used by both the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Intelligence.[261] All thirteen traveled on sequentially issued Iran Air tickets. Furthermore, several of the suspects had previously visited Switzerland in October 1989 and January 1990. Investigators suspected that these visits were made to lay the groundwork for the attack.[262]

Iranian officials responded to the Swiss investigation with blanket denials. The Iranian office of Interpol responded to the international arrest warrant distributed by Chatelain by claiming that the thirteen suspects were most likely MEK members who had traveled to Switzerland from the group’s base in Iraq, a claim met with incredulity by the Swiss Police.[263] In June 1990, Dr. Rajavi’s widow, Michelle Rajavi, visited the United States to petition the government to put pressure on Iran to surrender her husband’s killers. [264] She succeeded in persuading 162 U.S. Congressmen to write a letter to the Iranian government denouncing Dr. Rajavi’s murder and stating that the Iranian government’s involvement in his death proved that terrorism was still an “indispensable pillar” of Tehran’s foreign policy.[265] Tehran continued to stonewall inquiries into the murder.

In September 1990, the government of Iran filed charges in the Swiss courts against a staff reporter for Law Suisse newspaper, Myriam Gazut Godal, who had written an article published after the Rajavi assassination alleging that Iranian President Rafsanjani had “masterminded” the killing.[266] The Iranian government complaint accused Godal of insulting a foreign head of state, an actionable offense under article 296 of the Swiss penal code. In July 1991, the Geneva Palais de Justice found that Ms. Godal had acted in good faith after the Prosecutor in the case confirmed that valid reasons existed to conclude that Tehran had been behind the murder. The Government of Iran was directed to pay the court costs associated with the trial and to contribute SF 5,000 toward Ms. Godal’s legal fees.[267]

On November 15, 1992, two of the thirteen wanted fugitives in the Dr. Rajavi murder, Ahmad Taheri (a.k.a. Mahmoud Sajadian) and Mohsen Sharif Esfahani (a.k.a. Ali Kamali), were apprehended in Paris.[268] Switzerland formally requested the extradition of both individuals on November 24. On February 10, 1993, the indictment division of the Court of Appeals in Paris handed down an opinion in favor of their extradition to Switzerland.[269] However, on December 29, 1993, France unexpectedly deported the two men back to Iran.[270] The decision not to comply with Switzerland’s extradition request came from the office of the French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur who cited “reasons connected to our national interests” in justification of his actions.[271] The French move was widely condemned by western powers including the United States, Britain, and Switzerland. The Swiss charge d’affaires, Christian Dunant, delivered a diplomatic note protesting the deportations to the French Foreign Ministry, commenting to reporters that his government was “astonished at the behavior of France and regrets it very much.”[272] The former Iranian President Abolhassan Banisadr, living in exile in Paris professed himself “shocked and indignant” over the decision.[273]

According to The Times of London, “informed sources” had told the newspaper that the French government had treated Iranian threats to launch terrorist attacks against French targets if the extradition went ahead “with great seriousness.”[274] In an editorial, Le Monde observed: “Appearing to cave in to the threat of terrorism is certainly not the best way to fight it.”[275] Le Journal du Dimanche commented similarly:

In the eyes of the world, France is giving the shameful impression of lying down under the threats of a terrorist state.[276]

No further judicial action was taken in relation to the case until April 2006, when the Swiss issued an international arrest warrant for the former Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian. Jacques Antenen, the examining magistrate of the Canton of Vaud, where the murder took place, signed the document on March 20, 2006, for “worldwide circulation.”  According to the newspaper Le Matin, the warrant stated that Fallahian “decided on and ordered the execution of” Dr. Rajavi.[277]

 

Dr. Cyrus Elahi

4.6. Dr. Cyrus Elahi

After the 1979 revolution, the Revolutionary Courts condemned Dr. Cyrus Elahi to death for collaborating with the Shah’s regime.[278] Dr. Elahi was able to escape from Iran before he could be apprehended by the revolutionary authorities and became active in the Iranian opposition. On October 23, 1990, he was shot dead in the foyer of his residence in Paris.[279]

Although Dr. Elahi lived much of his life in the United States and was a naturalized American citizen, he had moved back to Iran in 1972 to take up a position as a professor at Tehran’s Melli University. In 1976, Dr. Elahi became an advisor to Iran’s Minister of Education, Dr. Manouchehr Ganji.[280] This was the beginning of a long friendship between the two men, which continued into exile. Dr. Ganji has claimed that both their names were included in a list of 200 leading enemies of the Islamic Republic drawn up in 1979[281] and that religious fatwas were issued calling for their death.[282]

After fleeing Iran, Dr. Elahi returned to the United States, where he initially took up an academic position at Michigan State University. In 1980, he moved to Dallas to work with Dr. Ganji at the SECURE Foundation,[283] a short-lived N.G.O. that pursued a variety of projects, including the construction of a model school in Bombay and promoting alternate fuel sources in Third World countries.[284] In December 1986, he moved to Paris, France, to help Dr. Ganji establish the Flag of Freedom Organization (FFO).[285] The FFO was an avowedly political opposition group that made no secret of its mission to “liberate Iran from the clerical regime.”[286] Dr. Elahi acted as the organization’s second-in-command,[287] and from 1986 until his death in 1990, he traveled the globe promoting the organization’s cause and organizing its clandestine activities.[288] He was also responsible for much of the group’s propaganda campaign within Iran.

In October 1990, the French authorities received intelligence that led them to believe Dr. Ganji’s life was in imminent danger.[289] At the suggestion of the French authorities, Dr. Ganji left Paris and went into hiding in Egypt. However, Dr. Elahi remained in Paris. He was usually cautious about his personal security and rarely left his house alone[290] or without his bulletproof briefcase,[291] which doubled as a shield.[292] But on the morning of October 23, 1990, Dr. Elahi was late for an appointment and he left his apartment without taking his regular security precautions.[293]

Dr. Elahi was attacked at about 9:00 a.m. in the entrance hall of his apartment building at 8 Rue Antoine Bourdelle in Paris’ 15th arrondisement.[294] There are no eyewitnesses to the murder itself but the physical evidence collected from the crime scene and the nature of the injuries suffered by Dr. Elahi led French police to conclude that he had struggled with his killer before succumbing to his injuries.[295] The police found flesh and pieces of cloth under Elahi’s fingernails[296] and one witness mentioned that he saw an individual leaving the apartment building with blood on his jacket.[297] Dr. Elahi was shot eight times – six times in the head and twice in the stomach. Ballistic tests identified the murder weapon as a Walther PP 7.65mm automatic pistol.[298] The French authorities also concluded that the weapon’s silencer was of the type that had been used in other assassinations of Iranian dissidents.[299]

The identity of Dr. Elahi’s assassin has never been established, although French investigators were able to shed substantial light on the origins of the plot. On November 7, 1989, a surveillance operation mounted by the French Security Service, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST), recorded a meeting between Ali Ghorbanifar,[300] Iranian Ambassador to France, Ali Ahani, and Ali Anghuizi, the General Manager of Iran Air[301] at Paris’ Orly Airport.[302] Later the same day, Ghorbanifar also met with Mojtaba Mashhady and a man known to the French authorities only as Bagher.[303] On November 8, Ghorbanifar informed the DST that he “had been approached by the Iranian Intelligence Service to participate in an act of terrorist nature against the opponents of the Iranian regime.”[304]

After the November 7 meeting, Mashhady traveled to Tehran, and spent two weeks in Iran before returning to France on either November 21 or 22, 1989. According to Ghorbanifar, while in Iran, Mashhady had had meetings with the Minister of Intelligence, Ali Fallahian, and a man named Karimi. It was during these meetings that Mashhady was reportedly told that Dr. Manouchehr Ganji had been sentenced to death by an Islamic tribunal.[305]

Farhad Ghiasvand would later testify to the French authorities that he had been approached by Mashhady in Iran and that Mashhady had tried to recruit him to carry out the assassination of Iranian dissidents living in France.[306] Mashhady told Ghiasvand about his meeting with Minister Fallahian and identified Dr. Cyrus Elahi as a potential target. He provided Ghiasvand with photographs of Dr. Elahi and with the target’s address in Paris.[307] He also offered to provide Ghiasvand with a “gun equipped with a silencer”[308] and to pay him $40,000 to carry out the operation.[309] Ghiasvand declined.

Once back in France, Mashhady turned to Ghorbanifar, offering to pay him to participate in the assassination of Dr. Ganji.[310] The DST learned of this offer and pressured Ghorbanifar to accept so that they could monitor Mashhady’s activities more closely.[311] Ghorbanifar received an initial payment of $1,000 from Mashhady with the promise of an additional $100,000-$200,000 on completion of the assignment.[312] However, the case was disrupted when Ghorbanifar was incarcerated for an unrelated drug offense and was unable to participate any further in the DST’s operation. In December 1989, the DST received further intelligence identifying Mashhady as an employee of the Ministry of Intelligence but apparently still lacked sufficient grounds for an arrest.[313]

In the aftermath of Dr. Elahi’s assassination, the DST stepped up its investigation of Mashhady. On February 21, 1991, the DST summoned Mashhady for the first of a series of interviews. During an interview on March 13, 1991, Mashhady denied that he had met Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian but did admit to being in contact with Karimi and Bagher.[314] He even provided the DST with Karimi’s telephone number in Tehran.[315] In an interview conducted on July 2, 1991, Mashhady admitted that Karimi had asked him on two occasions (November 1989 and January 1990) to conduct preliminary investigations on four individuals based in Paris:[316] Cyrus Elahi, Shoja’eddin Shafa, Manouchehr Ganji, and Princess Ashraf Pahlavi. Although Mashhady initially denied that he had acted on this request, forensic examination of his Minitel terminal[317] confirmed that he had indeed conducted some research on Cyrus Elahi.[318]  In April and May 1992, Mashhady offered to broker a meeting between the DST and the Ministry of Intelligence, further strengthening the French government’s belief that he was indeed an intelligence agent.[319] 

The testimonies of Ghiasvand and Ghorbanifer do not stand alone. Six other witnesses – Ali Reza Ghanaee Miandoabad,[320] Mohamed Amir Bakhtiar,[321] Emanian Shiraz,[322] Marie Christine Shiraz,[323] Marine Line Paul,[324] and Hossein Yazdenseta[325] – all testified that Mashhady had told them himself that he was a member of the Iranian secret services.

Ali Miandoabad told French investigators that in December 1992, Mashhady, whom he had known for about thirty years, had asked him whether he would be willing to assassinate Shoja’eddin Shafa and Manouchehr Ganji.[326] Miandoabad further testified that Mashhady had told him that Ali Ghorbanifar had agreed to kill Dr. Elahi but later reneged. This, Mashhady had said to Miandoabad, had forced the Ministry of Intelligence to send Iranian intelligence agents to Paris to carry out the assassination.[327]

Hossein Yazdenseta’s testimony provided additional information. Under interrogation, Yazdenseta confessed to having been part of a plot to assassinate Iranian political dissidents in Paris. He attributed his involvement to Mashhady, who he said was in the employ of the Iranian secret services and dealt drugs on the side. In his testimony, Yazdenseta stated:

The Iranian service had entrusted to [Mashhady] this mission in Tehran … What I know – namely what he had told me – is that in Tehran they gave him Elahi’s address. I would like to add that he even had this address in his pocket on the day he was arrested in October 1990 … With respect to Elahi’s assassination, I cannot give you any other information than that I already gave to the police and which I had received from Mashhady himself. I know that the Iranians had given Mashhady a pistol equipped with a silencer that was originally in a wooden box. Mashhady would have given the weapon to his contacts, but I am unable to tell you when.[328]

On April 5, 1996, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Paris delivered indictments of “association with criminals linked to terrorist activities” against Mojtaba Mashhady and Hossein Yazdenseta.[329] Both men were charged with “having in Paris, during 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, participated in a group or an understanding characterized by one or more concrete occurrences, including attempts to recruit accomplices, research and information gathering and conducting surveillance. The above-mentioned understanding was established with the view to participate in several crimes, in addition to which these actions were committed in connection with a terrorist organization.”[330]

Mashhady and Yazdenseta were tried before the Paris Supreme Criminal Court, and, in September 1996, they were convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, including the planned assassinations of Ganji and Elahi. Mashhady was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and Yazdenseta to three years imprisonment. These convictions were upheld by the French appellate courts.[331]

Yazdenseta died in prison on September 26, 1998.[332] He was 38 years old at the time of his death. Mashhady served three years of his seven year sentence.[333] He was released under judicial supervision on September 29, 1999.[334] The next day, the Iranian embassy in Paris announced that President Hojjatoleslam Mohammed Khatami would visit France “before the year 2000,” and he did so three weeks later.[335]

Five months after Mashhady’s release, Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, the investigating magistrate who had brought about the original charges against Mashhady, brought new charges against him. This time, on February 11, 2000, Mashhady was indicted and charged with “complicity in assassination in connection with an individual or collective undertaking with the aim of seriously disturbing the public order by intimidation.”[336]

This second trial was considerably undermined by the fact that Yazdenseta was no longer alive to testify. The presiding judge also found particular cause for concern in the manner in which the DST had handled the case, demanding of a government witness: “with all the contacts and connections you had, how is that you could not prevent the killings?”[337] The witness responded: “I can’t answer all your questions. I’m an intelligence officer with heavy responsibilities. There are shadows I can’t talk about.” Citing the numerous unanswered questions raised during the trial, on June 29, 2001, the court acquitted Mashhady of these new charges.[338]

In addition to the criminal charges brought in France, Dr. Elahi’s brother, Dariush Elahi, filed a civil suit against the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States. The lawsuit was brought pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, as amended, 28 USC §§ 1602-1611, which grants “jurisdiction over foreign states and their officials and agents” in cases of “personal injury or death to American nationals resulting from state-sponsored terrorism.”[339] The government of Iran was served notice of the case on February 20, 2000, but chose not to respond. Thus, on August 14, 2000, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered an order of default against the defendant.

The Court took note of the fact that “individuals implicated in the killing of Cyrus Elahi confirmed, under oath, to French authorities that the Minister for Intelligence, Ali Fallahian, was involved in ordering the killings of Iranian dissidents in Paris.”[340] The Court also noted that, as mentioned above, “under interrogation, Mr. Yazdenseta confessed to having been part of a plot to assassinate Iranian political dissidents in Paris. Mr. Yazdenseta stated under oath to Judge Bruguière that Mr. Mashhady had stated that he had been entrusted in Tehran with the organization of the assassination of Cyrus Elahi.”[341]

The Court further noted that “the evidence gathered by Judge Bruguière strongly indicates that the original plot, as conceived by the Ministry of Intelligence, was to assassinate a number of individuals opposed to the Tehran regime, including Dr. Elahi, Dr. Ganji, and others.”[342] The Court declared:

In addition to testimony obtained through the interrogation of Messrs. Mashhady, Yazdenseta, and Ghorbanifar, Judge Bruguière also obtained answers to written questions of a high-ranking Iranian defector, who had been detained by German authorities. This defector, Mr. Mesbahi, confirmed to Judge Bruguière that the assassination of Dr. Elahi was organized and executed by Iranian government officials.[343]

Thus, the Court concluded that “the murder of Dr. Elahi was an act of assassination undertaken and directed by agents of defendant Ministry of Intelligence at the behest of defendant Islamic Republic of Iran.”[344] Labeling the murder as an “extrajudicial killing,”[345] the Court awarded the Estate of Cyrus Elahi $725,359 for loss of accretion and $14,676 for funeral expenses.[346] It awarded each of Dariush Elahi and Elham Elahi damages of $5,000,000.[347] Finally, the Court awarded the plaintiff $1,000,000 in survival damages for pain and suffering and $300,000,000 of punitive damages.[348]

In 2004, Dariush Elahi attempted to recover part of the damages awarded to him by seeking to attach the proceeds of an arbitration award the Iranian Ministry of Defense won against an American defense contractor, Cubic Defense Systems of San Diego, in a case that dated back to the 1970s. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Mr. Elahi’s favor.[349] However, Mr. Elahi’s claim was challenged by the Government of Iran, and in 2006 the case was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.[350]  The Supreme Court found that the Ninth Circuit had incorrectly defined the defendants (the Iranian Government and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence) as an “agent or instrumentality” of the state of Iran, “rather than an integral part of the state itself,” which altered how the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act came into play, and thus overturned the ruling of the Ninth Circuit.[351]

4.7. Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar

On August 8, 1991, Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar,[352] former Prime Minister of Iran, and his secretary, Soroush Katibeh,[353] were found murdered in Dr. Bakhtiar’s residence outside Paris, France.[354] As the Head of the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR), Dr. Bakhtiar was seen as one of the principal rallying points for opposition to the Islamic Republic, and he had already survived two serious attempts on his life. Dr. Bakhtiar had been condemned to death in absentia by a Revolutionary Court for “sowing corruption on earth,”[355] and the Magistrate of the Court, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, had publicly announced that any Iranian carrying out this sentence in a foreign country would be considered an agent of the court.[356]

 

Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar

 The first attempt on Dr. Bakhtiar’s life was made on July 18, 1980, at Boulevard d’Inkerman, in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, when a group of armed men attempted to storm the apartment in which he was living.[357] The men successfully talked their way past French police officers stationed outside Dr. Bakhtiar’s apartment building using forged Press credentials. They then shot dead the police officer on duty inside the building, Jean-Michel Jamme, who was responsible for screening visitors to Dr. Bakhtiar in more detail.[358] Once upstairs, the group went first to the wrong apartment and Dr. Bakhtiar’s neighbor, Ms. Yvonne Stein, was shot dead as soon as she opened her front door.[359] Her sister was also wounded by the gunmen. Realizing their mistake, the men then tried unsuccessfully to force their way into the correct apartment.[360] Thwarted in their objective, the gunmen tried to flee the scene but were intercepted by the police outside as they left the building. Another French police officer was severely wounded and paralyzed for life before the gunmen were subdued.[361]

French police arrested five men in connection with the attack: Anis Naccache, Tateh Shadabi, Salahoddin Alkalre, Mohammad Abid and Mohammad Fouzi.[362] Tateh Shadabi was the only Iranian in the group; the apparent leader, Anis Naccache, was a Lebanese national from Beirut.[363] The French authorities reportedly believed Naccache to be connected to an unidentified Palestinian intelligence organization[364] and he subsequently admitted having been a member of Fatah before leaving in 1978 to set up his own ‘resistance group.’[365] A group calling itself Pasdaran-i Islam, Guardians of Islam, claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt.[366]

On July 19, 1980, the Iranian Embassy in Paris issued a statement by Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh distancing the government of Iran from the incident. The statement noted that the previously unknown Pasdaran-i Islam had no connection with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran-i Inqilab-I Islamiyyih Iran), and condemned attempts by the foreign media outlets to associate the Islamic Republic with such conspiracies.[367] However, Ayatollah Khalkhali, Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal, had previously told the French news magazine L’Express, in an interview published in June 1980 that Dr. Bakhtiar was on a blacklist and that a ‘commando’ unit had been assigned the responsibility of killing him.[368] Pasdaran-i Islam issued a communiqué noting that Ayatollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa on the day after the Paris attack authorizing the execution of all those involved in the failed Nuzhih coup,[369] an event with which Dr. Bakhtiar had been closely associated in Iran. The fatwa stated:  

Those who followed the corrupt ideology of the Coup, their verdict is execution. There is no exception. No one has the right to pardon or exercise leniency.[370]

In an interview with the British journalist Robert Fisk in October 1991, Naccache acknowledged his role in the assassination attempt and explained his reasons for attacking Dr. Bakhtiar, which appeared to confirm Ayatollah Khalkhali’s statement to L’Express:[371]

I had no personal feelings against Bakhtiar, it was purely political. He had been sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Tribunal [sic]. They sent five of us to execute him … I came to have contacts with the Iranian opponents of the Shah in Beirut and Tyre. That’s how I found myself involved in the Iranian revolution … I became convinced that a revolution had to be safeguarded and protected … With Bakhtiar, I felt there was a danger of a coup like the one against Mosadeq [sic]. That’s why we decided to assassinate him. It was a sentence of death against him, to be carried out as an execution. Bakhtiar was the head of a plot to carry out a coup against the revolution and come back to Iran.[372]

Naccache was equally ambiguous in an interview with the French writer Jean-Yves Chaperon. When asked directly if he was officially charged with the mission to kill Dr. Bakhtiar, he replied obliquely:

I am not a soldier who is obeying orders. I wasn’t obliged. I am Lebanese, I am a militant, I can say yes or I can say no, I can go back to my country. It was more that I was a volunteer for a mission that was close to my thoughts.[373]

Naccache and three of his accomplices were sentenced to life imprisonment on March 10, 1982.[374] The fifth member of the group was sentenced to twenty years.[375] However, all five men were pardoned by the French government and released on July 28, 1990. Naccache told Jean-Yves Chaperon that their release had been part of a 1988 deal with Iran to secure the release of three French hostages held by Shi’a militia groups in Lebanon:

The deal was made by Jacques Chirac, the then French Prime Minister, and Charles Pasqua, his interior minister. It was to be me and my four comrades in exchange for Kauffmann, Carton and Fontaine. There were both conservatives and socialists in power in France. It was Chirac who made the promise but only [President François] Mitterrand could issue an amnesty for us. Mitterrand demanded an official request for our release from Chirac, which Chirac did not want to give. Each wanted the other to carry the responsibility.[376]

Naccache was released into the custody of the Iranian authorities and flown immediately to Tehran in the company of two officials from the Iranian Embassy in Paris.[377] Financial reparations were also paid to the families of the two French citizens killed in the attack, but Naccache has refused to reveal whether or not this money came from the government of Iran.[378] In 2007, Naccache was reported to be living in Iran and working as a businessman.[379]

A second attempt to assassinate Dr. Bakhtiar was hatched in 1989. On this occasion, an attempt was made by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence to recruit one of Dr. Bakhtiar’s own protégés, Fariborz Karimi,[380] to poison the former Prime Minister. Karimi was approached by a former associate, Manouchehr Akasheh.[381] Akasheh had worked for NAMIR, first in Kuwait and then in Paris, where he and Karimi became good friends. In the fall of 1989, Akasheh asked Karimi to meet him in Germany.

Karimi discussed the invitation with Dr. Bakhtiar and the two men agreed that Karimi should meet with Akasheh to see what the latter wanted. Karimi traveled to Germany where he met with Akasheh and two other men whom he believes were Iranian Intelligence agents.[382] The two men claimed somewhat implausibly to be caviar salesmen.[383] On the first day, Akasheh tried to persuade Karimi to return to Iran and speak out against Dr. Bakhtiar. On the second day, Akasheh suggested (after insisting that Karimi should swear on the Koran not to reveal the content of their conversation) that Karimi kill Dr. Bakhtiar.[384] He said: “They are going to kill him. Someone will do it. If you want to make some money, you can do it. They offer $600,000, a house in Tehran and anything else you want.”[385]

On the third day, Karimi received a telephone call directly from Ali Fallahian, then still Mohammad Reyshahri’s deputy at the Ministry of Intelligence, urging him to accept the assignment. Karimi was given a small vial half-filled with white powder and told “to mix it in Bakhtiar’s vodka.” Karimi told the Los Angeles Times in 1994, “[the recruiter] said: ‘It is colorless. No one will know. They will think he had a stroke.’”[386]

Following Dr. Bakhtiar’s advice to remain aloof and noncommittal, Karimi did not refuse the proposal outright.[387] On his return from Germany, Karimi stayed in Dr. Bakhtiar’s home for over a month before finally moving back into his Paris apartment. Shortly thereafter he received an anonymous phone call instructing him to wait for a call from Hossein at a set time in a public phone near his home. Karimi did as he was instructed and took the call. He recognized Hossein’s voice as being that of Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian. Fallahian pressed him to finish the job.[388]

Karimi had no intention of going through with the assassination and, fearing for his life, he publicly denounced Dr. Bakhtiar, and made attempts to distance himself from NAMIR. He then moved to London and attempted to drop out of sight, but Fallahian eventually tracked him down. Karimi fled to Canada and then the United States, where he was granted political asylum.[389]

The third attempt on Dr. Bakhtiar’s life was successful, despite the fact that by 1991 he was protected by substantial security measures. Dr. Bakhtiar’s home in Suresnes had been placed under 24-hour guard by France’s elite police unit, the Compagnies Republicaines de Securité (CRS).[390] The French police controlled all traffic into and out of Dr. Bakhtiar’s house and recorded the names of all his visitors. 

On August 6, at 5:00 p.m., Dr. Bakhtiar received an expected visit from Fereydoun Boyerahmadi,[391]  who had arranged the meeting in order to introduce Dr. Bakhtiar to Mohammad Azadi and Ali Vakili Rad,[392] under the pretense that the two men had urgent information from Iran.[393] The three men handed over their passports to the police guards and were searched[394] before they entered the house.  Once inside, they murdered Dr. Bakhtiar and his assistant, Soroush Katibeh.[395]

Dr. Bakhtiar was killed while Katibeh was making tea in another room.[396] He was first stunned with a massive blow to his head that tore his vocal chords and knocked him unconscious.[397] One of the killers then proceeded to suffocate him. Once dead, his throat and wrists were cut using a serrated bread knife from Dr. Bakhtiar’s own kitchen. One side of Dr. Bakhtiar’s throat was ripped completely open and he was stabbed in the chest multiple times. Considering the dullness of the knife and the depth and width of the wounds – in some cases, more than 2 inches long and 7 inches deep – the killers must have exerted a great deal of force.[398] One of the killers sat on Dr. Bakhtiar’s chest, breaking his rib cage. Soroush Katibeh was attacked as soon as he returned to the room. He was also suffocated and, once dead, was stabbed 13 times. The last thrust pierced his thigh and broke the knife, the tip of which was later found still embedded in his leg.[399]

The three assassins then collected their passports from the police control point without arousing the suspicions of the officers on duty,[400] and left the crime scene in Boyerahmadi’s BMW[401] which was later found abandoned on a Paris street.[402] The killers then changed out of their bloody clothes and dumped them together with their shredded passports in the Bois de Boulogne, where they were eventually discovered by a prostitute who had heard about the murders on the news.[403] The bodies were not found for thirty-six hours, when Guy Bakhtiar (a local police officer and the son of the victim) finally returned home from a trip on August 8,[404] at which point the bodies were already in the early stages of decomposition.[405] With the discovery of the bodies, Boyerahmadi, Azadi and Vakili Rad, the last three visitors to enter the house, immediately became the lead suspects in one of the most intensive murder investigations in French history.[406]

Even before the murders had been discovered by Dr. Bakhtiar’s son, there were several private inquiries and reports circulating in the Iranian community about the assassinations. On August 7, Davoud Abdollahi, Dr. Bakhtiar’s accountant, received a phone call from his hometown of Shiraz, Iran, asking him to confirm rumors circulating in Iran that Dr. Bakhtiar was dead.[407] Abdollahi replied that he did not think so, but when he tried to call Dr. Bakhtiar, there was no answer. Abdollahi then called Guy Bakhtiar, who replied that he had also had problems getting his father on the phone but thought it more probable that he was simply sick, or that the phone lines had been cut due to non-payment.[408]

The killers had difficulties as they tried to make their escape. While Boyerahmadi went into hiding in Paris, Azadi and Vakili Rad headed for Geneva.[409] They were turned back from the border when the Swiss immigration police discovered the Swiss visas in the Turkish passports they were now traveling on were false.[410] Wandering through southern and eastern France, they tried to find a way into Switzerland. The killers made several desperate calls to an apartment in Istanbul[411] that were intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency and traced to the Iranian mission to the United Nations in Geneva.[412] Finally, they split up and managed to enter Switzerland separately.[413] Azadi’s wallet was found by police at a phone booth in Annecy,[414] resulting in police locating and arresting Vakili Rad in Switzerland on August 21.[415] Azadi managed to escape due to the assistance of “at least two Iranian nationals[416] in Switzerland.”[417] Boyerahmadi also managed to evade arrest.

After a preliminary investigation conducted by the Paris Crime Squad, the Bakhtiar case was referred to Investigative Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who immediately began pursuing the killers and their accomplices. In his findings, Judge Bruguière uncovered a plot that had apparently been in development since May 1991. Since that time, various people, including Seyyed Massoud Hendi, Hossein Sheikh Attar, Gholam Hossein Shoorideh Shirazinejad, Zeinolabedine Sarhadi, and Naser Ghaseminejad had been working to enable Vakili Rad and Azadi to enter France and to exit without problem once the murder was committed. From these findings, Judge Bruguière was able to conclude that Iran had initiated the criminal acts that occurred in Suresnes.[418]

The French Security Service (DST) established that Seyyed Masoud Hendi – a nephew of Ayatollah Khomeini – and a former representative of Iranian Television in Paris[419] had vouched for both Vakili Rad and Azadi on their French visa applications. Hendi regularly obtained French visas for Iranian agents through the intermediary of a French company called Syfax, and this is how he obtained the visas for Bakhtiar’s assassins. Hendi had previously come to the notice of the French authorities during the investigation of the murder of General Oveisi and his brother in 1984[420] and during the 1982 trial of Anis Naccache, when he had been ejected from the court for chanting pro-Khomeini and anti-Bakhtiar slogans. [421] Hendi was arrested on September 17, 1991, at a hotel in Paris where he was staying with his family on vacation; four days later, he was indicted by Judge Bruguière.  Following his indictment, Iranian state television issued a statement denouncing Hendi as a French agent, and claiming he was “no relation to Imam Khomeini or to his family.”[422] Hendi subsequently told French investigators that he had been instructed to help secure visas for Vakili Rad and Azadi by the Iranian Telecommunications Minister, Mohammad Gharazi.[423]

French Police also arrested Fereshteh Jahanbani in October 1991. Jahanbani was renting the apartment where Boyerahmadi hid after the killings and she admitted to collaborating with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. The police found codes, a special pen and invisible ink in her apartment. She identified Amirolah Teimoury, Chief of Security at the Iran Air office in Paris’ Orly Airport, as her superior.[424] This position had long been associated with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence by the French authorities (see section 4.6).

Hossein Sheikh Attar, a member of the Iranian Minstry of Telecommunications,[425] used his contacts to obtain false visas for Vakili Rad and Azadi to enter France under the aliases Norian and Kamal Hosseini.[426] On October 22, 1991, Judge Bruguière issued an international arrest warrant for Attar as “an accomplice in murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist action.”[427]

Judge Bruguière also identified Gholam Hossein Shoorideh Shirazinejad and Nasser Ghaseminejad as having facilitated the Swiss end of the operation.[428] Shirazinejad had asked Mr. Siegrist, Chairman of the Comatra Company, to request invitations into Switzerland for two people, one of whom was Ghaseminejad.[429] Nasser Ghaseminejad was identified by Bruguière as an official of Iranian Intelligence. Ghaseminejad had awaited the assassins in Geneva in order to assist their escape back to Iran. On August 13, 1991, Azadi checked into the same hotel as Ghaseminejad.[430]

Zeinolabedine Sarhadi, the great-nephew of Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,[431] was identified by investigators as having made hotel reservations for Vakili Rad and Azadi in Switzerland. Sarhadi arrived in Switzerland on August 13, 1991, allegedly to work as an archivist in the Iranian embassy in Bern.[432] According to Judge Bruguière’s report, his real mission was to help Dr. Bakhtiar's murderers escape.[433] Sarhadi’s orders were issued on July 16, 1991, on the authority of Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Foreign Minister.[434] Sarhadi was arrested in Bern on December 23, 1991, on an international arrest warrant and was subsequently extradited to France.[435] At the time of his arrest, Sarhadi was in possession of several incriminating documents, demonstrating his access to and support from Iranian agencies to facilitate logistical arrangements for the Bakhtiar mission.[436] He was indicted in connection with the Bakhtiar murder by the French authorities on May 26, 1992.[437] On April 21, 1993, Judge Bruguière issued an arrest warrant for Shirazinejad and Ghaseminejad.[438]

Ali Vakili Rad, Seyed Massoud Hendi and Zeinolabedine Sarhadi were all tried by the Special Criminal Court of Paris (la Cour d’Assises Speciales)[439] from November 2 through December 6, 1994.[440] Vakili Rad was sentenced to life imprisonment, without any possibility of conditional release for a period of 18 years, for having murdered Mr. Bakhtiar and Mr. Katibeh together with Mohammad Azadi and Fereydoun Boyerahmadi.[441] Vakili Rad was identified in court as one Kowsari, a senior member of the Ministry of Intelligence, who had previously worked in the Security Office of the Revolutionary Guards and was attached to the Quds Force at the time of the murders.[442] Seyyed Massoud Hendi was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, without possibility of conditional release for a period equivalent to two-thirds of the sentence (six years, eight months) for assisting Bakhtiar’s murderers to enter France.[443] Hendi was released in August 1998 having served part of his sentence on remand. Zeinolabedine Sarhadi was acquitted and expelled from France, possibly due to pressure exerted by Iran.[444]

Fereydoun Boyerahmadi and Mohammad Azadi remain at large.[445] The two men were tried in absentia along with Hossein Sheikh Attar, Gholam Hossein Shoorideh Shirazinejad and Nasser Ghaseminejad, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment on June 16, 1995.[446] Azadi was identified during the 1994 trial as a former high-ranking intelligence officer in the Revolutionary Guards who had later been transferred to the Quds Force and entrusted with terrorist activities outside of Iran. He was also identified as Ali Vakili Rad’s superior.[447] Commenting on the case to the American journalist Thomas Sanction in March 1994, a French official observed: 

The whole Iranian state apparatus is at the service of these operations. The government assumes the legitimacy of killing opponents anywhere in the world.[448]

 

Mohammad Hossein Naghdi

 4.8. Mohammad Hossein Naghdi

Mohammad Hossein Naghdi had been appointed as the Islamic Republic’s Chargé d’affaires in Rome in the immediate aftermath of the Islamic Revolution but resigned his position in 1981 in protest at the human rights violations committed by the new regime.[449] Naghdi joined the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and was appointed as the group’s representative in Italy.[450] He had enjoyed considerable success in raising the profile of the NCRI in Italy, gaining official recognition for the organization and coordinating a statement released by 377 Italian deputies expressing support for the “Iranian resistance.”[451]

Naghdi had been considered a potential target since the assassination of Dr. Rajavi in Geneva and had been assigned a close protection detail by the Italian authorities.[452] On March 2, 1993, this protection was upgraded after the Italian Security Service, SISDE, received intelligence suggesting that a specific threat existed.[453]

At 9:30 a.m. on March 16, 1993, as Naghdi’s car slowed to enter the street on which his office was located, a pedestrian fired two shots at Naghdi, wounding him fatally in the neck and head.[454] Naghdi’s bodyguards, following in the car behind, were powerless to prevent the attack and the assassin was able to escape the scene without being apprehended. The Italian police received an anonymous tip-off on the afternoon of the killing, which led to the recovery of the murder weapon, a Skorpio machine pistol, as well as two clips of ammunition and a silencer.[455]

In June 1996, the British Parliamentary Human Rights Group published a transcript of a tape recording of a telephone conversation between Mohammad Karim Nasser Saraf, a senior official in the Iranian Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephone, and an unnamed Iranian Foreign Ministry official that took place shortly after Naghdi’s assassination:

Saraf: The Haji [Telecoms Minister Mohammad Gharazi] himself was happy with the outcome. He said that they have discovered the right methods. They strike and these guys strike back. Meanwhile the Haji said the man [Naghdi] had gained a lot of prestige over there. He was gradually taking the place of that Kazem [Dr. Kazem Rajavi]…

Foreign Ministry official: …and concerning what you said on the Haji remarks. I agree with that completely. That is true, he was substituting for Kazem [Dr. Rajavi]. Recently he [was talking about] such issues as the arms sales by a number of these Italian firms. Add to this his meetings in the parliament, etc. You know, some of these parliamentarians have asked this government to recall Italy’s ambassador from Iran and to sever relations with Iran.

Saraf: Yes, you heard about it too? Yes, that shows how far they had penetrated in these places.

Foreign Ministry official: If it was not effective they would not have investigated so much?

Saraf: Of course not. By the way, do you know whether the folks who carried out this act have returned or have they remained there?

Foreign Ministry official: That I don’t know because the holiday arrived and our people scattered.

Saraf: Had they informed our Majid [presumably Majid Hedayat-Zadeh, the Iranian Ambassador in Rome] before that?

Foreign Ministry official: I have not talked to Majid, I have not reached him yet, but I’ll try to… So the Haji said it was Fallahian [Ali Fallahian, Minister of Intelligence] or Rezai [Major General Mohsen Rezai, Commander of the Revolutionary Guards]?

Saraf: Considering my phone conversation with the Haji, I think it was the former. I think Majid knows that well, but perhaps he could not specify that over the phone …[456]

When asked by reporters about Naghdi’s assassination, Iranian Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri commented:

Are these types of people terrorists or not? And if someone takes action against such terrorists, does that mean they are terrorists? I don’t think so.[457]

When formally confronted about the Interior Minister’s comments by the Special Representative of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, the Iranian government responded with a rather halfhearted retraction:

Mr. Nouri… states that the sentences quoted are distortions of statements he made. He asserts that even though violence should not be answered with violence, those who have tainted their hands with the blood of innocent people, committed unconscionable crimes and engaged in terrorism, would one day encounter terrorism of their own kind.[458]

The Iranian government went on to suggest that Naghdi had been murdered by elements within the Mujahedin-e Khalq with whom he was allegedly at odds over the latter’s collaboration with the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The official response further speculated that the MEK might have deliberately framed the attack to cast suspicion on the Iranian government and undermine Iran’s relations with European countries.[459]

 

Dr. Reza Mazlouman

4.9. Dr. Reza Mazlouman

On May 27, 1996, Dr. Reza Mazlouman,[460] a former professor of criminology at Tehran University who served in the Ministry of Education under the Shah, was shot and killed in his apartment in the Paris suburb of Creteil. Dr. Mazlouman was the deputy leader of the opposition Flag of Freedom Organization (FFO) and the editor of a bimonthly journal called Payam-i Ma Azadegan (Message of the Freemen).[461] He was, to the best of the IHRDC’s knowledge, the last member of the Iranian opposition to be assassinated outside the territory of Iran and Iraq. According to the French authorities, he had been forced to flee from Iran in 1982 after being “condemned to death by Khomeini’s regime.”[462]

On the afternoon of May 27, 1996, Dr. Mazlouman received two unexpected visitors at his Paris apartment: Ahmad Jayhouni and another man identified by Jayhouni as his nephew.[463] Jayhouni was an Iranian businessman based in Bonn[464] who had first contacted Mazlouman three years beforehand, presenting himself as a dissident subscribing to the journal Payam-i Ma Azadegan. He had subsequently visited Dr. Mazlouman once or twice a year.[465] Police later found letters from Jayhouni among Dr. Mazlouman’s belongings, discussing the possibility of Jayhouni joining the Flag of Freedom Organization (FFO) and the struggle against the Iranian regime.[466]

A witness, Mme. Anne Sourdeau de Beauregard, who was present when the two men called, later commented that Dr. Mazlouman had seemed annoyed by their unexpected arrival,[467] because he had been hoping to concentrate on his work. Mme. de Beauregard reported that the men asked if they could stay with Dr. Mazlouman for the night and he had agreed. Jayhouni and his companion then left, saying that they would return in half an hour.[468] Mme. de Beauregard went home to her apartment before they returned.[469]

Dr. Mazlouman’s body was discovered by Mme. de Beauregard at around 1:00 p.m. the following day.[470] Two bullets had been shot from close range into his chest and another into his head.[471] Mme. de Beauregard called the police, and told them about Dr. Mazlouman’s house guests. She identified Jayhouni and tried to help a police artist compile a sketch of his “nephew.”[472] Evidence found at the scene of the crime indicated that there had been no forced entry to the apartment and that Dr. Mazlouman had smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol with his guests before he was killed.[473]

Neighbors who lived down the hall from Mazlouman’s apartment described hearing shots around 10 p.m. on the night of May 27. One person stated that he distinctly heard three shots; two close together and the third several seconds later. Another said that after the shots, he heard hurried steps in the stairwell. A third said that after the shots, he heard the rapid footsteps of two people.[474] One witness recalled seeing a white BMW parked in the basement of the apartment building drive off around 10 p.m., and another reported seeing a young man running out of the building around the same time.[475]

The French police immediately opened an investigation into the murder. The German police, acting on a request from their French counterparts, detained Jayhouni for questioning and he, while denying involvement in the crime, admitted that he had visited Dr. Mazlouman on the day in question.[476] He was extradited to France on May 30, 1996.[477]

Jayhouni’s intention appears to have been to develop a relationship with the Head of the Flag of Freedom Organization, Dr. Manouchehr Ganji.[478] Jayhouni attempted at first to befriend Dr. Ganji by writing him letters[479] offering his services in combating the Iranian regime.[480] Dr. Ganji, suspicious of his intentions, rebuffed Jayhouni. Dr. Ganji told police investigators that in 1994 he had received confirmation from his sources inside Iran that, as he had suspected, Jayhouni was an agent of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. Dr. Ganji strongly suspected that Jayhouni was working for Ali Gholami, an intelligence official in the Iranian Embassy in Bonn – a charge he made public in a 1994 interview published by the French magazine Paris Match.[481] The French Interior Ministry took the allegations against Jayhouni sufficiently serious that it reportedly issued a “fiche d’opposition d’entrée” on November 2, 1994, in an attempt to bar his future entry to France.[482]

Apparently undeterred, Jayhouni turned his attentions to Dr. Ganji’s close friend and number two, Dr. Mazlouman.[483] For three years, Jayhouni worked to ingratiate himself with Mazlouman, providing his office with electronic equipment, such as an answering machine and computer.[484] Dr. Mazlouman maintained the relationship despite warnings from Dr. Ganji and others that Jayhouni was dangerous.[485] Dr. Mazlouman even received a cautionary warning from the French Security Service (DST), but he responded that he had complete trust in Jayhouni.[486]

The Mazlouman case was once again prosecuted by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière and Jayhouni was tried before the Cour d’assises speciale, which specializes in terrorism cases, in June 2001. The evidence produced during the trial made a strong case for Jayhouni’s connection with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.[487] Both the French DST and the German BfV confirmed that Jayhouni had maintained contacts with Ali Gholami and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence since 1992.[488] In addition, Jayhouni admitted to investigators that he had met with three members of the Iranian Embassy in Bonn – Mohammad Akhavan, Cultural and Consular Affairs Attaché, Seyyed Bolboli, Secretary of Consular Affairs, and Ali Ousouli (alias Masoudi), an Intelligence officer – but maintained that these were simply business contacts.[489] Investigators found that Jayhouni had Ousouli’s direct number at the Embassy among his personal papers.[490] Ousouli was identified by the German authorities as Ali Gholami’s replacement in Bonn and he was ultimately declared persona non grata for activities incompatible with his diplomatic status and expelled from Germany in August 1995.[491]

However, the physical evidence did not place Jayhouni at the crime scene at the time of the murder. Jayhouni’s cell phone records, a time-stamped receipt from a gas station in Germany, and the reports of his wife and daughter that he returned to Germany before the murder all led investigators to accept that he was no longer in France at the time Dr. Mazlouman was killed.[492] Furthermore, crime scene investigators recovered DNA samples of three people from different cigarette stubs left at the crime scene. One sample was determined to be from Dr. Mazlouman himself, but the other two were not identified. By eliminating all the people who might have had the opportunity of having recently smoked a cigarette at Dr. Mazlouman’s house, the police concluded that this was the DNA of the people who carried out the murder.[493] Neither remaining sample matched Jayhouni’s DNA.[494]

The court found that Jayhouni had introduced the killer (or killers) into Dr. Mazlouman’s home but had not himself been present when Dr. Mazlouman was killed. The court speculated that the killer (or killers) presumably entered Dr. Mazlouman’s apartment with Jayhouni. Having allayed any lingering concerns that Dr. Mazlouman might have, Jayhouni departed. The killer (or killers) then waited long enough for Jayhouni’s alibi to be effective before completing their task.[495] The court concluded in its judgment:

[Jayhouni] consciously aided the murder … of Reza Mazlouman by one or more unidentified actors, by facilitating the preparation or the commission of this crime through aid or assistance, and in instigating or giving instructions to commit the violation, in particular by gathering information about the victim and in permitting the author(s) of the crime to enter [Mazlouman’s house].[496]

Suspicions about the identity of the actual killer (or killers) centered on Jayhouni’s “nephew,” someone the French police were never able to fully identify. Jayhouni would only give his companion’s name as “Mazaheri” and he claimed to know no further personal details about him.[497] Jayhouni was convicted on June 22, 2001, as an accomplice to the murder and sentenced to 17 years in prison.[498] Jayhouni’s appeal against his conviction, heard on August 22, 2001, by the Paris Appeal Court (Cour d’appel de Paris), was denied.

Dr. Mazlouman’s assassination was the eighth successful attack mounted against an Iranian opposition figure living in Paris. In his indictment, Judge Bruguière succinctly summarized the lasting consequences of such attacks:

[The attack on Reza Mazlouman] was undoubtedly … a terrorist act, in the sense that it gravely disturbed the public order in and of itself, but also because it fits into a context of threats, each crime becoming an act of intimidation for other dissidents. Placed into its context, this crime contributed to a climate of terror that weighs on the Iranian dissident community, obliging those members who want to continue their political or merely intellectual struggle to take significant security measures. This is to say that each of these acts of intimidation or terror carries in it a destabilizing seed for a democratic society, where the protection of free speech still constitutes a fundamental priority of public order.[499]

5. Conclusion 

In the early years after the revolution, a plethora of ad hoc revolutionary organizations made up the Islamic Republic’s intelligence community and they responded to the heated rhetoric of the times by pursuing the regime’s enemies overseas. The creation of the Ministry of Intelligence in 1983 ushered in an era of coordinated government action in which Iranian intelligence officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force provided the tip of a spear wielded against the opposition by the Special Affairs Committee, an extraparliamentary body comprised of some of the most powerful executive political figures in the country.

Iranian authorities appear to have suspended their seventeen-year-long campaign of international political assassination in 1996, after the murder of Dr. Reza Mazlouman – with the one exception of Iraq, where the killings continued until 1999. One can only speculate as to the reason for this, but it seems likely that a rising tide of international condemnation both at the United Nations and in national courts – as typified by the December 1994 French court judgment in the Bakhtiar case and the international arrest warrant issued by Germany for the Iranian Minister of Intelligence, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, in March 1996 – had a chilling effect on such operations.

A second crucial factor was undoubtedly the succession of President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani by the reformist Mohammad Khatami in May 1997. The struggle for power between reformist and conservative elements inside the Islamic Republic shifted attention away from opposition activities outside Iran’s borders. The Ministry of Intelligence appears to have turned its attention instead to voices of protest inside the Islamic Republic and a series of killings of dissident intellectuals in the late 1990s that have come to be known as the “Chain Murders” have been widely linked to Hojjatoleslam Fallahian and his then deputy Sa’eed Imami.[500]

The nine cases highlighted in this report, along with an attack documented in a companion piece, Murder at Mykonos, demonstrate the widespread and systematic nature of the campaign waged directly by the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran against its political opponents across the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. We have chosen the best documented cases that include victims from across the disparate and often fractious opposition movement – monarchists like Shahriar Shafiq and General Gholam Ali Oveisi, secular reformists like Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar, Ali Akbar Tabatabai and Dr. Cyrus Elahi, Islamist dissidents like Dr. Kazem Rajavi and Mohammad Hussein Naghdi, and minority rights activists like Dr. Abdol Rahman Ghassemlou and Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Sharafkandi.[501] We might just as easily have cited examples from the other 162 cases that have so far come to light, such as the kidnapping, torture and subsequent murder of Abbas Gholizadeh in Istanbul, whose killers admitted in 1995 on Turkish television that they had been acting on orders from Tehran,[502] the murder of Dr. Abdol Rahman Boroumand, who was stabbed to death in Paris in April 1991,[503] or the shooting of Mohammad Hassan Arbab, gunned down in Karachi in June 1993.[504]

Our report identifies those most directly responsible for prosecuting this campaign: Intelligence Ministers Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri (1984-1989) and Hojjatoleslam Fallahian (1989-1997), and the former Head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Yahya Rahim-Safavi. The current commander of the Quds Force Intelligence Directorate, Guards Corps Brigadier General Muhammad-Jafar Sahraroudi, also merits specific mention because of the personal role he played in the 1989 assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou.

Some of the other senior political and religious figures who have come to particular notice in this report as playing a central role in ordering and facilitating political assassinations are Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali. Ali Akbar Velayati’s Foreign Ministry provided documents and logistical support to assassination teams in the field, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi has been credibly linked to two of the cases discussed in this report.

In the final analysis, the killings that occurred between 1979 and 1996 violated some of the most fundamental tenets of international human rights law. They were planned, directed and coordinated at the highest levels of the Iranian political and religious establishment by senior regime officials, many of whom remain influential to this day. As German Judge Frithjof Kubsch noted in his final judgment in the Mykonos case:

The evidence makes it clear that the Iranian rulers not only approve of assassinations abroad and that they honor and reward the assassins, but that they themselves plan these kinds of assassinations against people who, for purely political reasons, become undesirable. For the sake of preserving their power, they are willing to liquidate their political opponents.[505]

Those within the Iranian state who ordered, instigated, committed, aided and abetted, or otherwise shared the intent of and made a significant contribution to these extrajudicial killings can, and should, be held individually responsible for their crimes.

Methodology

It is the nature of intelligence services to shroud their actions in secrecy, to dissemble and deceive in their daily operations, and to work through covert organizations and proxies. The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence is no exception to this rule. Little definitive is known about the institutional arrangements governing its operation other than the bare bones laid down by statute. Much of the public commentary surrounding the Ministry’s activities is attributed to anonymous sources or is based on simple speculation. In this report, the IHRDC has sought to keep such speculation to a minimum and to rely only on sources who are prepared to stand behind their words.

IHRDC gathered information for this report from the examination of the following sources:

  • Testimony of victims and witnesses.  These included witness statements taken by IHRDC attorneys from survivors of assassination attempts or their family members.
  • Testimony of former regime insiders. The IHRDC has interviewed several former regime insiders with knowledge of Iran’s clandestine services.
  • Government documents.  These include recorded public statements by state officials, court documents, official reports by organs such as the United Nations Commission for Human Rights and the British Parliamentary Human Rights group, statements released by Iranian government agencies and published legal instruments.
  • Documents issued by non-governmental organizations. These include reports and press releases written by organizations such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders.
  • Books and articles written by private individuals.  These include political memoirs, and the published accounts of survivors and eyewitnesses of the incidents described.
  • Political parties. The IHRDC has approached political parties for documentation and testimony concerning the targeting of their members.   
  • Academic articles. A number of historians and political scientists have written on the assassination campaign against political opponents of the Islamic Republic. 
  • Media reporting. This includes articles published in newspapers inside Iran and foreign media sources in the countries where the events recounted in this report occurred.
  • The IHRDC particularly wishes to thank the Library of Congress for its invaluable assistance in researching this project.

We have chosen to refer to the Vizarat-i Ittila’t as the Ministry of Intelligence, a literal translation of the Persian. Readers should, however, be aware that it is more often referenced in western sources as the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) or by the acronym VEVAK.

All names of places, people, organizations, etc., originally written in Farsi have been transliterated using the system of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (IJMES), available at http://assets.cambridge.org/MES/mes_ifc.pdf. Under the IJMES system, names of places with an accepted English spelling and names of prominent cultural or political figures may be spelled according to the English norm.

Where the report cites or relies on information provided by government actors or other involved parties, it specifies the source of such information and evaluates the information in light of the relative reliability of each source. The IHRDC has meticulously cross-checked all the sources of information used to compiled this report to ensure their credibility and accuracy.


[1] Criminal responsibility also extends to senior officials who had effective authority and control over the perpetrators, knew or had reason to know that the murders were about to be or had been committed, and failed to “take all necessary and reasonable measures within [their] power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution” (cf. Articles 25, 27 and 28 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, reflecting international customary law).

[2] Imam Khomeini, Governance of the Jurist (Vilayat-i Faqih):  Islamic Government, Translator and Annotator Hamid Algar, at 22, available at http://www.geocities.com/icpikw/downloads.html (accessed October 17, 2007).

[3] Khomeini set up his temporary headquarters at the Refah School, an Islamic high school for girls close to the parliament building. Baqer Moin, Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah 202 (1999) [hereinafter Life of the Ayatollah].

[4] They were Nematollah Nasiri, Head of the Shah’s internal security agency (SAVAK), Major General Manuchehr Khosrowdad, Air Force Commander, General Reza Naji, Military Commander of Esfahan, and General Mehdi Rahimi, Military Commander of Tehran and Head of the Police Force. See Hamdastan-i Shah-i Sabiq Tirbaran Shudand. Avalin Guruh-i Idamshudigan: Nasiri, Khosrowdad, Rahimi, Naji [Aids of the Former Shah Were Executed by a Firing Squad, the First Group to be Executed: Nasiri, Khosrowdad, Rahimi, Naji], Kayhan, Special Edition, Friday, 27 Bahman 1357 (February 16, 1979), the newspaper carries a picture of the four men minutes after they were shot. See also Chigunigiyih Tirbaran-i Jinayatkaran [How the Criminals Were Executed by a Firing Squad], Kayhan, Special Edition, Friday 27 Bahman 1357 (February 16, 1979) that explains Ayatollah Khomeini approved the sentences before they were carried out; Jukhiyih Inqilab, Tirbaran-i Yaran-i shah Ra Aqaz Kard [the Revolutionary Squad Started the Execution of Shah’s Collaborators] Ayandigan, 28 Bahman 1357 (February 17, 1979) for a full description of the Court and the executions; Khatirat-i Ayatollah Khalkhali, Avvalin Hakim-i Shar’-i Dadgahhayih Inqilab [Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, the First Religious Magistrate of the Revolutionary Courts (Ayatollah Haj Shaykh Sadegh Khalkhali, Sayih Publication, 2004) [hereinafter Khalkhali’s Memoir] at 352-372, where Ayatollah Khalkhali explains his personal memories about the events.

[5] Dastgiriyih Avamil-i Rejim-i Sabiq Idamih Darad [Arrest of the Agents of the Former Regime Continues], Kayhan, 5 Esfand 1357 (February 24, 1979); 4 Farmandiyih Artish Tirbaran Shudand [4 Army Commanders Were Executed by a Firing Squad], Kayhan, 1 Esfand 1357 (February 20, 1979); 8 Nafar Dar Abadan Tirbaran Shudand [8 People Were Executed by a Firing Squad in Abadan], Ettella’at, 12 Mehr 1358 (October 4, 1979); Mudir Amil-i Sabigh-i Shir va Khurshid-i Surkh-i Esfahan Tirbaran Shud [The Former Executive Director of the Red Lion and Sun Office of Esfahan Was Executed by a Firing Squad], Ettella’at, 12 Mehr 1358 (October 4, 1979); Sih Mufsid Fil Arz Idam Shudand [Thirty Corrupter on Earth Were Executed], Ettella’at, 12 Mehr 1358 (October 4, 1979). See a March 13, 1980 Amnesty International report. The report lists defendants who were convicted by Revolutionary Courts in the period from their inception until 12 August 1979, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/document-233-481.php#_ednref1 (accessed October 22, 2007).  

[6] Life of the Ayatollah, supra note 3 at 207.

[7] Sahifiyih Nur, Majmu’iyih Rahnimudhayih Imam Khomeini [Sahifiyih Nur, The Complete Collection of Imam Khomeini’s Advices] Vol. 5 (Center for Collection of the Culture Documents of the Islamic Revolution, 1983) at 236

[8] The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) was a leftist Islamic organization that had waged an underground guerrilla war against the Shah’s regime and had initially supported Ayatollah Khomeini when he returned to Iran in February 1979. The leader of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, Massoud Rajavi, had stood in the January 1980 Presidential election only to have his candidacy effectively disqualified by Ayatollah Khomeini at the last minute. See Ervand Abrahamian, Radical Islam the Iranian Mojahedin 198 (1989) [hereinafter Iranian Mojahedin]. The party did not fare any better in the elections for the Majlis, failing to win a single seat after Ayatollah Khomeini intervened in the election on May 7, 1980, to urge the people not to vote for “subversives” or believers in “anti-Islamic ideologies.” See David Menashri, Iran: A Decade of War and Revolution 187 (1990) [hereinafter Menashri] at 126. Having been frustrated in his own quest for office, Rajavi increasingly threw the Mujahedin-e Khalq’s support behind the new Iranian President, Abolhassan Banisadr, in his unsuccessful power struggle with the radical clerics. On June 14 Khomeini accused the Mujahedin-e Khalq of “bringing disaster on the revolution.” See Sahifiyih Nur, Majmu’iyih Rahnimudhayih Imam Khomeini [Sahifiyih Nur, The Complete Collection of Imam Khomeini’s Advices] Vol. 15 (Center for Collection of the Cultural Documents of the Islamic Revolution, 1983) at 10-21. On June 21 Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Speaker of the Majlis, called Mujahedin-e Khalq a group that is Maharib – at war with God – and said that they could no longer be tolerated in the spirit of political freedom. See Ra’is-i Majlis: Ashub-i Mujahidin va Fada’i Aqaliyat Bihtarin Guvah-i Adam-i Kifayat-i Ra’is Jumhur Ast [Head of the Majlis: the Disturbances Caused by the Mujahedin and the Fada’iyan-i Aqaliyat is Best Proof of the President’s Incompetence], Kayhan, 31 Khordad 1360 (21 June 1981). Banisadr’s successor as President, Mohammad Ali Raja’i, told a London-based magazine: “Since the Mujahedin were misguiding the people with their interpretations of Islam, they could not be tolerated in an Islamic Republic.” See The Middle East, July 1981, at 37. A campaign of violence was unleashed against the Mujahedin-e Khalq and its supporters, and the party was forced underground. See Iranian Mojahedin at 218-219. The MEK hit back by launching a violent urban guerrilla campaign against the clerical establishment and the supporters of the Islamic Republic Party. On June 27, 1981, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, one of the co-founders of the Islamic Republic Party and Ayatollah Khomeini’s eventual successor as Supreme Leader, was seriously injured by a bomb in the Abuzar Mosque. See Dilip Hiro, Iran under the Ayatollahs 190 (1987). Further attacks killed, among many others, President Raja’i, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar, President of the Supreme Court Ayatollah Beheshti, Head of the Evin Prison Mohammad Katchu’i, Prosecutor-General Ayatollah Ali Qodusi and the Chief of the Tehran police Houshang Dastgerdi. Ayatollah Khomeini was outspoken in his denunciations of the MEK calling for a severe response against those who raised arms against the Islamic Republic: “When the Prophet Mohammad failed to improve the people with advice, he hit them on the head with a sword until he made them human beings.” See Menashri at 131. Between June and September 1981, the regime reported the arrest of at least 2,000 Mujahedin-e Khalq sympathizers and by December 1981, the authorities had announced the execution of more than 2,500 individuals associated with the unrest. See Iranian Mojahedin at 220. The Mujahedin-e Khalq began to suffer from a loss of direction and a commensurate decline in morale after its series of spectacular operations in 1981 failed to topple the clerical regime. See Menashri at 241. The number of Mujahedin-e Khalq attacks reached a high of three incidents a day in July 1981, but had declined to an average of five incidents a week by February 1982. See Iranian Mojahedin at 223. In early 1983, the MEK decided to divert resources from its campaign against IRI officials to the guerrilla war in Kurdistan. The MEK campaign and the regime’s aggressive response claimed at least 12,250 lives. Approximately three-quarters of those killed were members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq or alleged sympathizers detained by the authorities. See Iranian Mojahedin at 223.

[9] See Individuals Assassinated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Outside of Iran. [Attached as Appendix 1].

[10] Shaul Shay, The Axis of Evil: Iran, Hizballah, and the Palestinian Terror 111 (2005).

[11] US Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Iran’s Use of International Terrorism (1993).

[12] Shaul Shay, The Axis of Evil: Iran, Hizballah, and the Palestinian Terror 110 (2005).

[13] See Rishihhayih Idi’ulujik-i Tirurism-i Vilayat-i Faqih va Asnad-i Mykonos [The Ideological Roots of Terrorism of the Supreme Leadership and Mykonos Documents] 56 (Parviz Dastmalchi, 1997), quoting Abolhassan Banisadr’s testimony to the Mykonos court.

[14] ICG Middle East Report, Iran: The Struggle for the Revolution’s Soul ii (2002), available at http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/ICG/perspex-icg-revolutionssoul-080502.pdf (accessed January 3, 2008).

[15] Istirdad-i Bakhtiar Az Faransih Taqaza Mishavad [Extradition of Bakhtiar will be requested from France], Ettella’at, 2 Mordad 1359 (July 24, 1980) [Attached as Appendix 2]. 

[16] Hadi Khursandi is an Iranian poet, comedian and satirist who is very critical of the Islamic Republic. He was forced into exile shortly after the Revolution and now lives in London.

[17] Witness statement of Abolghassem Mesbahi (witness C) on September 25, 1996.  System-i jinayatkar: Asnad-i Dadgah-i Mykonos [The Criminal System: Documents of the Mykonos Trial] 165 (Mihran Payandih et al. trans. 2000).

[18] Id. At the time of the Mykonos assassinations, the other permanent members were Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, then President; Ali Fallahian, then Minister of Intelligence; Ali Akbar Velayati, then Foreign Minister; Mohammad Reyshahri, a former Minister of Intelligence; Mohsen Riza’i, then General Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards; Reza Seyfollahi, then head of the Law Enforcement Forces; and Ayatollah Khaz’ali, a member of the Guardian Council. See generally Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination (March 2007) [hereinafter IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos].

[19] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 7-8 (1993)

[20] See generally IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos, supra note 18.

[21] Thomas Sancton, The Tehran Connection, Time Magazine, March 21, 1994 [hereinafter “the Tehran Connection”].

[22] Different documents have referred to this Ministry as MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security), Ministry of Information and Security, or VAVAK (Vizarat-i Ittila't Va Amniyat-i Kishvar). IHRDC believes that the name of this entity is the IRI Ministry of Intelligence (Vizarat-i Ittila't ) but uses the other names whenever quoting from original sources.

[23] Witness statement of Abolghassem Mesbahi (witness C) on September 25, 1996.  System-i jinayatkar: Asnad-i Dadgah-i Mykonos [The Criminal System: Documents of the Mykonos Trial] 171-2, 194-5 (Mihran Payandih et al. trans. 2000).

[24] Id.

[25] Interview with Mohsen Sazegara, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards, conducted by IHRDC (February 14, 2008) (on file with IHRDC).

[26] Id.

[27] Khatiriha, Jild-i Sivvom: Ta’sis-i Vizarat-i Ittila’t, Muqabilih Ba Shabakihhayih Jasusi va Tiruristi va Ta’sis-i Dadsarayih vijiyyih Rawhaniyat [Memories, Vol. III: Establishment of the Ministry of Intelligence, encountering the Espionage and Terrorist Networks, and Establishing the Special Court for the Clergy], (Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, Islamic Republic Documentation Center, 2006) [hereinafter Reyshahri vol. III] at 37.

[28] Reyshahri vol. III, supra note 27 at 38.

[29] Id. at 39 and 273.

[30] Id. at 39.

[31] The Law of Formation of Ministry of Intelligence, ratified on 27 Mordad 1362 (August 18, 1983). See also Menashri, supra note 8 at 281.

[32] ICG Middle East Report, Iran: The Struggle for the Revolution’s Soul 9 (2002), available at http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/ICG/perspex-icg-revolutionssoul-080502.pdf (accessed March 13, 2008).

[33] See The Structure of Power in Iran, An Overview of the Iranian Government and Political System, Available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tehran/inside/govt.html (accessed Jan 4, 2008).

[34] The Law on Rules and Conditions Pertaining to the Minister of Intelligence, 29 Ordibehesht 1362 (May 19, 1983). A similar provision pertains to the offices of the Head of the Judiciary, Head of the Supreme Court and General Prosecutor of Iran, see Reyshahri vol. III, supra note 27 at 39.

[35] The Law of Formation of Ministry of Intelligence, Ratified on 27 Mordad 1362 (August 18, 1983), Article 11.

[36] Reyshahri vol. III, supra note 27 at 39.

[37] Id. at 48.

[38] Id. at 49-50, 58.

[39] The Nuzhih Plot reached fruition on July 9-10, 1980, when several hundred active-duty and retired Iranian paratroopers made their way to the Nuzhih air-force base near the city of Hamadan to initiate a coup against the Islamic Republic. The plot was particularly notable because it marked the first major occasion on which monarchists and secular democratic nationalists loyal to Dr. Bakhtiar were able to combine their forces. The Iranian government learned of the plot in advance, and many of the paratroopers were arrested as they arrived at the base. Several hundred alleged participants in the plot were arrested in the following days. Those arrested were soon put on trial, and 144 were executed. Fearing that other military personnel were linked to the plot or sympathized with it, Ayatollah Khomeini issued an execution fatwa for anyone involved in the coup and the revolutionary authorities carried out an extensive purge of the armed forces in the following months. See generally Mark Gasiorowski, The Nuzhih Plot and Iranian Politics, International Journal of the Middle East Studies, Vol. 34 at 649 (2002) and Khatiriha, Jild-i Aval [Memories, Vol. I], (Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, Islamic Republic Documentation Center, 2004) [hereinafter Reyshahri Vol. I] at 83-88.

[40] Reyshahri vol. I, supra note 39 at 227-238.

[41] Id. at 307.

[42] Menashri, supra note 8 at 319.

[43] Menashri, supra note 8 at 319.

[44] See generally Reyshahri vol. III, supra note 27. 

[45] Memorandum from Bruno Jost, Senior Public Prosecutor, to Kubsch, Vorsitzenden Richter am Kammergericht [Chief Justice, Court of Appeals] (July 4, 1994) (on file with IHRDC).

[46] For more detail, see IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos, supra note 18.

[47] Reza Afshari, Human Rights in Iran: The Abuse of Cultural Relativism 214 (2001).

[48] Id.

[49] Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorry Najafabadi was appointed Attorney-General of Iran in 2005.

[50] See Az Viranihhayih Savak Ta Shabakiyih Artishiyih Azim, Bakhsh-i Avval [From SAVAK’s Ruins to a Massive Military Network – Part I], Radio Farda, August 16, 2007 [hereinafter ‘From SAVAK to a Military Network’] available at http://www.radiofarda.com/ArticlePrint.aspx?id=407451 (accessed February 7, 2008).

[51] Id.

[52] ICG Middle East Report, Iran: The Struggle for the Revolution’s Soul 8-9 (2002), available at http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/ICG/perspex-icg-revolutionssoul-080502.pdf (accessed March 13, 2008).

[53] From SAVAK to a Military Network, supra note 50.

[54] Id.

[55] Interpol Media Release, INTERPOL General Assembly upholds Executive Committee decision on AMIA Red Notice dispute (November 7, 2007).

[56] From SAVAK to a Military Network, supra note 50.

[57] Greg Bruno, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Council on Foreign Relations, October 25, 2007, [hereinafter ‘Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’] available at http://www.cfr.org/publication/14324/ (accessed February 13, 2008).

[58] Id.

[59] Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, supra note 57.

[60] Al-Quds or Jerusalem.

[61] Scott Shane, U.S. Has Little Data on Iranian Units under Suspicion, International Herald Tribune, February 17, 2007, [hereinafter ‘Iranian Units under Suspicion’] that quotes from Dr. Milani.  

[62] Scott Shane, Iranian Force, Focus of U.S., Still a Mystery, The New York Times, February 17, 2007. See also Interview with Mohsen Sazegara, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards, conducted by IHRDC (February 14, 2008) (on file with IHRDC).

[63] Iranian Units under Suspicion, supra note 61.

[64] Interview with Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism and editor of “Islamism Digest” journal, conducted by Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Liberty, February 16, 2007, available at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/02/36B123CE-693B-448E-BF7D-A541E2A7BD12.html (accessed February 12, 2008).

[65] Interview with Mohsen Sazegara, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards, conducted by IHRDC (February 14, 2008) (on file with IHRDC).

[66] Anthony H. Cordesman and Martin Kleiber, Iran’s Military Forces and War Fighting Capabilities, 80 (2007).

[67] U.S. Department of State, Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism, available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/oct/94193.htm (accessed March 4, 2008).

[68] Magnus Ranstorp, Hizba’llah in Lebanon: the Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis 33 (1997) [hereinafter Hizba’llah in Lebanon].

[69] Id. at 33. See also Jamal Sankari, Fadlallah: the Making of a Radical Shi’ite Leader 198 (2005).

[70] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 33.

[71] Kenneth M. Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America 201 (2004). See also Ghat’namiyyih Kungiriyih Azadiyih Quds [Declaration of the Congress for Freedom of Quds], Ettella’at, 2 Mordad 1359 (July 24, 1980).

[72] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 34.

[73] Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah: Politics and Religion 70 (2002), [hereinafter Politics and Religion]

[74] H. E. Chehabi, Distance Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years 217 (2006).

[75] Kenneth M. Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America at 201, Politics and Religion, supra note 73 at 65; and Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism 79-110 (2005).

[76] Politics and Religion, supra note 73 at 64.

[77] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 41.

[78] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 65.

[79] Nasrallah replaced Abbas al-Mussawi as Secretary-General in 1992 after the latter’s assassination.

[80] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 72.

[81] Other terrorist groups supported by the IRI include the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, the Islamic Dawa Party in Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon, and the Organization for the Islamic Revolution in the Arabian Peninsula, see US Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Iran’s Use of International Terrorism, at 304. Iran has consistently been listed as one of the most active state sponsors of terrorism by the US since 1984, see US Department of States, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1984-1998.

[82] Hizba’llah in Lebanon, supra note 68 at 45. Mohsen Rafiqdust, the first commander of the Revolutionary Guard force in Lebanon, is another example. Rafiqdust was close to Khomeini, driving the car which had carried him from the Mehrabad airport to Tehran on his triumphant return from exile. See H. E. Chehabi, Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the last 500 years, at 219.

[83] The list of political assassinations sponsored or carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran outside its territory has been compiled by IHRDC from the following sources: Omid: A Memorial in Defense of Human Rights available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/memorial-search.php, Amnesty International, Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 42 (1993); Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance (2002); National Movement of Iranian Resistance, Report on the Islamic Republic Terrorism Abroad; the PDKI website available at http://www.pdki.org, the Iran Terror Database available at http://www.iranterror.com/content/view/37/55/ , and the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) available at www.Iran.org.

[84] See Chronological List of those Killed during the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Global Assassination Campaign [Attached as Appendix 1]

[85] Shafiq was born on March 15, 1945.

[86] Yik Sazman-i Makhfiyih Irani Bih Iqamatghah-i Ashraf Hamlih Kard [A Secret Iranian Organization Attacked Ashraf’s Residence], Ettella’at, 1 Tir 1359 (June 22, 1980).

[87] Khalkhali’s Memoir, supra note 4 at 291. See also Menashri, supra note 8 at 81; Hamdastanih Shah-i Sabiq Tirbaran Shudand [Collaborators of the Former Shah Were Executed By a Firing Squad], Kayhan (Tehran), Special Edition of Friday 27 Bahman 1357 (16 February 1979)

[88] Ayatollah Khalkhali: Dar Surat-i Adam-i Dastgiri, Khandan Pahlavi Ra Tirur Mikonim [Ayatollah Khalkhali: If we cannot arrest them, we will assassinate members of the Phalavi Family], Kayhan, 18 Azar 1358 (December 9, 1979). [Attached as Appendix 3]

[89] Cyrus Kadivar, Dialogue of murder: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten, The Iranian, January 26, 2003, available at http://www.iranian.com/CyrusKadivar/2003/January/Murder/1.html (accessed October 5, 2007)

[90] On December 8, Kayhan newspaper quoted United Press stating that Shahriar Shafiq was shot in front of his sister’s home. Juzi’yat-i Hadisiyih Tirur-i Pisar-i Ashraf-i Pahlavi [Details on assassination of the son of Ashraf Pahlavi], Ettella’at, 17 Azar 1358 (December 8, 1979).

[91] Id.

[92] Id. See also Shah nephew killed in 'purge of pawns', Reuters News Agency as reported by The Globe and Mail (December 8, 1979)

[93] Jeffrey Ulbrich, Police Hunt Slayer of Shah's Nephew, Associated Press, (April 11, 2007).

[94] Shah nephew killed in 'purge of pawns', Reuters News Agency as reported by The Globe and Mail (December 8, 1979)

[95] Khalkhali was appointed by Imam Khomeini to be responsible for all the revolutionary courts in Iran. See generally Khalkhali’s Memoir, supra note 4 at 291

[96] Fadaiyan-i Islam Masuliyat-i Tirur-i Pisar-i Ashraf Ra Bih U'hdih Giriftand [Fadayian Islam accepted responsibility for the assassination of the son of Ashraf] Kayhan, 17 Azar 1358 (December 8, 1979); Fadaiyan-i Islam Masuliyat-i Tirur Ra Bih U’hdih Giriftand [Fadaiyan Islam accepted responsibility for the assassination], Ettella’at, 17 Azar 1358 (December 8, 1979). According to Kayhan, two other groups also claimed responsibility for the assassination: Jibhiyyih Azadibakhsh-i Musalmanan [Moslem Liberation Front] and Furqan [25th Sura of the Koran meaning “the Criterion”].

[97] Fadaiyan-i Islam Masuliyat-i Tirur-i Pisar-i Ashraf Ra Bih U'hdih Giriftand [Fadayian Islam accepted responsibility for the assassination of the son of Ashraf] Kayhan, 17 Azar 1358 (December 8, 1979)

[98] Menashri, supra note 8 at 142.

[99] Cyrus Kadivar, Dialogue of murder: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten, The Iranian, January 26, 2003, available at http://www.iranian.com/CyrusKadivar/2003/January/Murder/1.html (accessed October 5, 2007). See also, Fadaiyan-i Islam Masuliyat-i Tirur-i Pisar-i Ashraf Ra Bih U'hdih Giriftand [Fadayian Islam accepted responsibility for the assassination of the son of Ashraf] Kayhan, 17 Azar 1358 (December 8, 1979).

[100] Shah nephew killed in 'purge of pawns', Reuters News Agency as reported by The Globe and Mail (December 8, 1979)

[101] Butcher of the Iranian Revolution, Le Figaro, July 5, 2005

[102] Menashri, supra note 8 at 243

[103] Iran Press Digest, No. 71, May 13, 1982, at 10

[104] Joyce Howard Price, Convincing Role in ‘Kandahar’; State’s attorney identifies actor as killer of Iranian in ’80, The Washington Times, January 4, 2002.

[105] Id. See also The Assassin – An American Who Killed for Iran (ABC 20/20 interview 1996) [hereinafter “American Who Killed for Iran”] quoting Barbara Walters as stating: “I knew [Tabatabai]…we all knew him.” and adding that “[h]e was frequently on television advocating [the overthrow of Khomeini].” Fearing for his safety were he to return to Iran, Tabatabai had received political asylum in the U.S. in May 1979. Also see Karlyn Barker and Saundra Saperstein, Target for Assassination; Slain Iranian Organized Sunday Rally, where Tabatabai express his desire for a democratic Iran.

[106] Tabatabai, Rais-i ‘Bunyad-i Azadi Iran’ Hamkar-i Nazdik-i Bakhtiar Tirur Shud [Tabatabai, the head of ‘Iran Freedom Foundation’ and Bakhtiar’s close associate was assassinated], Ettella’at, 1 Mordad 1359 (July 23, 1980).

[107] For more information, see the organization’s website at http://www.iffmrt.org (accessed April 18, 2008). The organization was headquartered at Tabatabai’s home. See Anti-Khomeini Iranian Slain at Bethesda Home, The Washington Post, July 23, 1980. See also, Idamkunandiyih Tabatabai, Uzv-i ‘Junbish-i Musalmanan-i Siyah-i’ Amrikast [Tabatabai’s Executioner Is a Member of “Black Muslim Movement” of US], Ettella’at, 2 Mordad 1359 (July 24, 1980).

[108] See Slain Iranian is Buried in Falls Church; Slain Anti-Regime Iranian is Interred, The Washington Post, July 26, 1980, that refers to a demonstration led by “anti-Khomeini Iranians” involving a march from the Capitol to Lafayette Park to "protest gross violations of human rights in Iran and [the] taking of the American hostages"; Robert Pear, Iran Ex-Attaché, Khomeini Foe, Slain in U.S., The New York Times, July 23, 1980. See also, Tabatabai, Rais-i ‘Bunyad-i Azadi Iran’ Hamkar-i Nazdik-i Bakhtiar Tirur Shud [Tabatabai, the head of ‘Iran Freedom Foundation’ and Bakhtiar’s close associate was assassinated], Ettella’at, 1 Mordad 1359 (July 23, 1980).

[109] Anti-Khomeini Iranian Slain at Bethesda Home, The Washington Post, July 23, 1980, and Anti-Khomeini Iranian Slain at Bethesda Home, The Washington Post, July 23, 1980. 

[110] David Belfield was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, on November 10, 1950. He would later describe himself as an "angry and alienated" young African-American man frustrated with social and political inequality in the United States and a "time bomb" whose anger would be put to use by supporters of the IRI. Belfield attended Howard University in 1968, but dropped out after his first semester. He began spending time at the Community Mosque on S Street in Washington D.C. and became increasingly interested in Islam, which he saw as “color-blind”. In February 1969, David Belfield formally converted to Islam and changed his name to Daoud Salahuddin. See David B. Ottaway, The Lone Assassin, The Washington Post, August 25, 1996 [hereinafter ‘The Lone Assassin’]; Ira Silverman, An American Terrorist, The New Yorker, August 5, 2002 [hereinafter ‘American Terrorist’]

[111] An example of that is his interview with the 20/20 program, aired on ABC on Friday, January 19, 1996, in which he confessed to his crime in details. See American Who Killed for Iran, supra note 105.

[112] American Fugitive: The Truth About Hassan (InformAction Productions 2006) [hereinafter Truth About Hassan]

[113]  American Terrorist, supra note 110; The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[114] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.  Media accounts suggest that these individuals over time became less engaged in actively supporting the IRI leadership. Ibrahim Yazdi served as foreign minister under Ayatollah Khomeini and still resides in Iran; however, he is now viewed as a dissident. Ali Agha reportedly became a schoolteacher in Northern Virginia and Bahram Nahidian continued to work in the carpet trade, also in Northern Virginia. See The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[115] See D.C. Man Sought In Assassination of Iranian Exile, The Washington Post, July 24, 1980.

[116] American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[117] Danishjuyan-i Irani Dar Amrica Khud Ra Ba Zanjir Bih Mujasamiyih Azadi Bastand [Iranian Students in the US chained themselves to the Statue of Liberty], Ettella’at, 14 Aban 1358 (November 5, 1979); and The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[118] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[119] Robert Meyers, Fourth Suspect Named in Killing of Iranian Here, 4th Suspect Named in Assassination of Iranian July 22, The Washington Post, January 3, 1981

[120] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110. An Iranian interest section was opened in April 1980 to  represent Iranian interests in the U.S. Salahuddin was one of four Americans working in the Iranian section; there were also nine Iranians. See A.O. Sulzberger, JR., Algerians to Allow Interviews by F.B.I., The New York Times, July 27, 1980.

[121] In a different interview Salahuddin said he met his contact at the Iranian Student Center. See American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[122] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[123] Id. For a more detailed description of the incident, see Arsonists Set Iran Times Offices Ablaze, The Iran Times, June 20, 1980 (attributing the fire to “unknown arsonists”).

[124] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[125] American Terrorist, supra note 110. Salahuddin claims that he “received no direct payments from the Iranian government aside from the five thousand dollars for killing Tabatabai. ‘Some people believe that I am on some special government payroll, but no one has ever given me a sinecure job in Tehran, nor have I ever been subsidized in any meaningful way.’”   

[126] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[127] American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[128] Similarly, Salahuddin was told at the time that Khomeini had issued a fatwa against Tabatabai, though he no longer gives this credence. See Truth About Hassan, supra note 112.

[129] American Who Killed for Iran, supra note 105. Salahuddin also proposed as a target Kermit Roosevelt, former CIA officer, who helped bring the Shah to power after the U.S.-supported coup that toppled elected Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. See American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[130] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110. Salahuddin evidently had few qualms about targeting Tabatabai, explaining that:  “When people asked me to ... execute him ... well I didn’t have any problem with that because he was certainly willing to you know ... execute people ... on behalf of Uncle Sam ... I wouldn’t have any problem killing a person like that.”  See Truth About Hassan, supra note 112.

[131] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110. Salahuddin claims that when he repeatedly raised the issue after he got to Iran, IRI officials displayed “collective amnesia” about this deal. See The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[132] Id

[133] Id

[134] Salahuddin paid a postman $500 for the use of his mail truck. See American Who Killed for Iran, supra note 105; American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[135] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110. 

[136] American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[137] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110; Truth About Hassan, supra note 112. The media speculated that “with an American man at the door, those inside fearing Iranian opponents let their guard down.” See American Who Killed for Iran, supra note 105. Tabatabai’s brother noted that Tabatabai had received a number of death threats in the months before his death, which he had reported to the FBI; see Anti-Khomeini Iranian Slain at Bethesda Home, The Washington Post, July 23, 1980. 

[138] Other accounts describe the aide actually calling Tabatabai to the door. See Truth About Hassan, supra note 112.

[139] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110; also see Louis R. Mizell, Target USA: the Inside Story of the New Terrorist War 50-51 (1998).

[140] American Who Killed for Iran, supra note 105.

[141] American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[142] Truth About Hassan, supra note 112; Also see Benjamin Weiser, Witness Says Slayer Visited Tabatabai Home Before Killing, The Washington Post, November 21, 1981.

[143] Truth About Hassan, supra note 112.

[144] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[145] Id.  

[146] Id.

[147] Id.

[148] Truth About Hassan, supra note 112.

[149] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.  The Report also mentions that “after 5 months [Salahuddin] ran into his ‘handler’ from the Iranian Interest Section in Washington; all the handler said about the killing was ‘nice job’.”

[150] American Terrorist, supra note 110. It is unclear how much, if any, those charged as co-conspirators knew about the plot.

[151] Eugene Robinson, Lied Earlier, Tabatabai Witness Says; Exile’s Slaying Witness Admits he Lied Earlier, Washington Post, November 22, 1981; and Al Kamen, 2 Convicted in Death of Tabatabai; 3rd Suspect Cleared in Shooting of Exile; 2 are Convicted in Slaying of Tabatabai, The Washington Post, December 4, 1981.

[152] Al Kamen, Defense Attacks Credibility of Witnesses in Tabatabai Trial, The Washington Post, December 1, 1981; Al Kamen, 2 Convicted in Death of Tabatabai; 3rd Suspect Cleared in Shooting of Exile; 2 are Convicted in Slaying of Tabatabai, The Washington Post, December 4, 1981.

[153] Ali Abdul-Mani’s conviction was overturned in 1984 after a three-judge panel ruled that evidence had been improperly presented to the jury; see Ed Bruske, Conviction in Exile's Slaying Reversed, Washington Post, July 24, 1984.

[154] Al Kamen, 2 Convicted in Death of Tabatabai; 3rd Suspect Cleared in Shooting of Exile; 2 are Convicted in Slaying of Tabatabai, The Washington Post, December 4, 1981.

[155] Ex-Mailman Guilty of Role in Slaying of Iranian Exile, The New York Times, February 4, 1981.

[156] Robert Meyers, Fourth Suspect Named in Killing of Iranian Here, 4th Suspect Named in Assassination of Iranian July 22, The Washington Post, January 3, 1981.

[157] Federal Bureau of Investigation Warrant for David Belfield, U.S. Government International Broadcasting Bureau (July 22, 1980). See also F.B.I. Offering a $10,000 Reward in Slaying of Anti-Khomeini Exile, The New York Times, July 25, 1980. 

[158] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[159] American Terrorist, supra note 110; The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[160] American Terrorist, supra note 110. The Washington Post claims that the newspaper was Kayhan International, see The Lone Assassin, supra note 110, while Time magazine reports it to be Iran Daily, see A Killer in Kandahar?, Time, December 19, 2001.

[161] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[162] Id

[163] Id.

[164] Kandahar (alternatively titled Safar-i Ghandihar and The Sun Behind the Moon) is a film by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, set in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. Kandahar won the Federico Fellini Prize from UNESCO in 2001.

[165] Joyce Howard Price, Convincing Role in ‘Kandahar’; State’s attorney identifies actor as killer of Iranian in ’80, The Washington Times, January 4, 2002. 

[166] Truth About Hassan, supra note 112. 

[167] Id.

[168] American Terrorist, supra note 110.

[169] Id.

[170] The Lone Assassin, supra note 110.

[171] In 1989, The Washington Post reported of a plan to lure Salahuddin out of Iran for arrest by offering him another assassination assignment, this time of an American lawyer. The plan was ultimately abandoned. John Mintz, Rught Marcus, Hirschfeld and the ‘Assassination Lure’, The Washington Post, May 18, 1989. The U.S. and the IRI have no extradition treaty and various other reported attempts to lure Salahuddin out of Iran have failed.

[172] John Vinocur, Exiled Iranian General is Killed with Brother by Gunmen in Paris, The New York Times, February 8, 1984; Emirates’ Ambassador to France Assassinated, The Washington Post, February 9, 1984; and the Obituary section, Time, February 20, 1984, available at http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,950022,00.html (accessed March 31, 2008). Note that the Time magazine Obituary section mentions one gunman, while The New York Times reports of gunmen having killed Oveisi.

[173] The Obituary Section, Time, February 20, 1984, available at http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,950022,00.html (accessed March 31, 2008).

[174] John Vinocur, Exiled Iranian General is Killed with Brother by Gunmen in Paris, The New York Times, February 8, 1984.

[175] Menashri, supra note 8 at 142.

[176] Id. at 44 and 59.

[177] Id. at 69.

[178] Id. at 142.

[179] Cyrus Kadivar, Dialogue of Murder: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten, The Iranian, Janaury 26, 2003.

[180] Mark Gasiorowski, The Nuzhih Plot and Iranian Politics, International Journal of the Middle East Studies, Vol. 34 at 649 (2002).

[181] Cyrus Kadivar, Dialogue of murder: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten, The Iranian, January 26, 2003.

[182] Khalkhali’s Memoir, supra note 4 at 75.

[183] Ayatollah Khalkhali: Oveisi Az Tars-i Iraniha Dar Landan Girim Kardih Ast [Ayatollah Khalkhali: Oveisi wears makeup in London out of his fear of the Iranians], Kayhan, 26 Tir 1358 (July 17, 1979).

[184] Mark Gasiorowski, The Nuzhih Plot and Iranian Politics, International Journal of the Middle East Studies, Vol. 34 at 650 (2002).

[185] Dadsitan-i Inqilabiyih Artish, Ittihamat-i 8 Saltanat Talab Ra I’lam Kard [The Revolutionary Prosecutor of the Special Court of the Armed Forces Announced the Accusations of 8 Royalists], Ettella’at, 25 Aban 1361 (November 16, 1982). See also, Dadghah-i 8 Saltanat Talab Varid-i Shur Shud [Trial of 8 Royalists Entered the Deliberation Phase], Ettella’at, 29 Aban 1361 (November 20, 1982).  

[186] The Obituary section, Time, February 20, 1984, available at http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,950022,00.html.

[187] However, it is not clear which Iranian official body made the statement, see Emirates’ Ambassador to France Assassinated, The Washington Post, February 9, 1984.  

[188] John Vinocur, Exiled Iranian General is Killed with Brother by Gunmen in Paris, The New York Times, February 8, 1984.

[189] Born on December 22, 1930, Dr. Ghassemlou grew up with the Kurdish national movement having joined the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI) at the age of fifteen. See Eskorte nach Teheran: der Osterreichische Rechtsstaat und die Kurdenmorde [Escort to Tehran: the Austrian constitutional state and the Kurd's murders] (Peter Pilz, Ibera & Molden, 1997) [hereonafter ‘Eskorte nach Teheran’] at 26. In 1973, Dr. Ghassemlou was elected Secretary General of PDKI. For more information, see Dr. Ghassemlou’s biography page on The Encyclopedia of Kurdistan, Available at http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/politics/personalites/leaders/arQasimlu.html (accessed March 31, 2008).

[190] Founded in 1945 the PDKI had been forced underground by the Shah’s regime but reemerged in March 1979, led by Secretary-General, Dr. Abdol Rahman Ghassemlou, who presented the media with an ambitious eight-point plan for Kurdish autonomy within a federal republic of Iran. See Philip G. Kreyenbroek and Stefan Sperl (eds.), The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview 190 (1992). The Kurdish desire for autonomy led to armed clashes in Kurdish cities like Sanandaj and Paveh between Revolutionary Guards and PDKI peshmerga militia. See Nader Entessar, Kurdish Ethnonationalism 32 (1992). The fact that the Kurds were mostly Sunni and the Revolutionary Guards Shi’a only served to further exacerbate sectarian tensions. Several official attempts at reconciliation between the PDKI and the Interim Government in Tehran failed to find any common ground. See Nader Entessar, Kurdish Ethnonationalism at 32. Finally on August 18, 1979, acting as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered units of the Army and the Revolutionary Guards to intervene in the Province of Kurdistan to restore order and re-establish the authority of the central government. See Farman-i Imam Bih Unvan-i Ra’is-i Kull-i Quva Darbariyyih Havadisiyih Pavih [Imam’s Order as the Commander in Chief about the Incidents of Paveh], Kayhan, 27 Mordad 1358 (August 18, 1979). Fierce fighting ensued. Khomeini dubbed the PDKI the “Party of Satan.” See Payam-i Imam Bih Mardum-i Kurdistan: Hizb-i Dimukrat Hizb-i Shaytan Ast [Imam's Message to the People of Kurdistan: The Democrat Party is The Party of Satan], Ettela'at, 30 Mordad 1358 (August 21, 1979). The regime made membership of the party a crime against the IRI and therefore punishable according to both Islamic and Iranian law. See Bah Tasvib-i Shurayih Inqilab-i Islami: Hizb-i Dimukrat-i Kurdistan Qayr-i Qanuni I’lam Shud, [The Islamic Revolutionary Council Announced: Kurdish Democratic Party is Illegal], Kayhan, 28 Mordad 1358 (August 19, 1979). The government called for a cease-fire in November 1979 but peace talks again broke down over continued Kurdish demands, albeit reduced, for a measure of self-government. See David McDowall, The Kurds: A Nation Denied 76 (1992). Fighting resumed with government forces managing to secure most of the urban centers but the PDKI controlling the rural hinterland. See Menashri, supra note 8 at 201. With the outbreak of the war with Iraq in September 1980, the government in Tehran redoubled its efforts to wrest back control of the province, and in July 1984, the leadership of the PDKI was finally forced to retreat across the border into the Kurdish areas of Iraq. See Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 28.

[191] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 37.

[192] Rassoul was a Vienna-based Iraqi Kurd serving as a mediator. See Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at38.

[193] See generally  Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189.

[194]  Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 28.

[195] David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds 276 (2001).

[196] Id.

[197] Another member of the PDKI was Mr. Abdollah Ghaderi-Azar, the PDKI’s representative in Europe. Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 58.

[198] At this meeting Amir Mansour Bozorgian joined the IRI team. See Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 60.

[199]  Id. at 60.

[200] Ayatollah Khomeini died on June 4, 1989.

[201] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 61; See also David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds 277 (2001).

[202] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 63.

[203] David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds 277 (2001).

[204] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 62.

[205] Hojjatoleslam Rafsanjani was elected president on August 3, 1989.

[206] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 66-67; See also David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds 277 (2001).

[207] This information comes to us almost exclusively from Mr. Pilz book. As a member of government, Mr. Pilz had access to many documents that the IHRDC has yet to acquire.

[208] See Die Kurdische Tragödie: die Kurden, Verfolgt im Eigenen Land [The Kurdish Tragedy: the Kurds, Pursued in Own Land] (Bahman Nirumand, Rowohlt, 1991) at 139.

[209] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 69.

[210] Id.

[211] Id. at 69-70.

[212] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 70.

[213] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 20.

[214] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 70.  

[215] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 71.

[216] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 73.

[217] Angeklagt [Suspect], News, September 17, 1997 [hereinafter ‘News-September 17, 1997’].

[218] Id; See also, Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 77. Bozorgian explained that he went to buy himself a McFish sandwich and a Coca-Cola.

[219] Noghrehkar Shirazi, the Islamic Republic’s Ambassador in Vienna put tremendous effort into the release and return of Sahraroudi and Bozorgian. See News-September 17, 1997, supra note 217

[220] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 77.

[221] Report on the Islamic Republic’s Terrorism Abroad, NAMIR, at 26.

[222] Gunmen Kill Kurdish Exiles Holding a Meeting in Vienna, The New York Times, July 15, 1989.

[223] News-September 17, 1997, supra note 217.

[224] Id.

[225] Jonathan C. Randal, “The Hostage Drama; Austria Said to ‘Kowtow’ to Iran in Murder Case; Reprisal Feared in Kurdish Leader’s Death”, The Washington Post, August 2, 1989 [hereinafter “The Hostage Drama”].

[226] See generally: Ahmadinejad suspected of involvement in 1989 attack in Vienna, Associated Press (July 2, 2005); Austria Seeks to Interview Journalist over Ahmadinejad Murder Accusations, Agence France-Presse (July 5, 2005); Ahmadinejad: Iran wants ties with Europe, Agence France-Presse (July 7, 2005).

[227] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 72.

[228] News-September 17, 1997, supra note 217; Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 73.

[229] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 78.

[230] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[231] Id.

[232] Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189 at 79. The pseudonym was actually Mostafa Ajoudi’s real name.

[233] Id. at 74.

[234] In 1996 Mr. Sahraroudi, a senior member of the intelligence branch of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps, traveled to the Iraqi town of Sulaymaniyah, the headquarters of Talabani to inaugurate a Shi'ite mosque built with Iranian government funds.” See Kenneth R. Timmerman, A Wasted Opportunity to Help Iranian Kurds, Washington Times, 31 July 1996, and The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[235] The Hostage Drama, supra note 226.

[236] The Hostage Drama, supra note 226. 

[237] See Rechtssache von Frau Helen Krulich Gegen die Republik Osterreich, Wien, 8-2-1991 [Lawsuit of Mrs. Helen Kurlich against the republic of Austria, Vienna, August 2, 1991], LGSt Wien. 

[238] During the Iran-Iraq war, Austria was involved in an arms scandal called “the Noricum Affair.” This affair revolved around the illegal sale of GHN-45 Cannons. Reportedly these transactions were concluded in Athens by Sahraroudi under the alias Rahimi. These facts have led some journalists and opposition politicians to suspect that the behavior of the Austrian authorities with regard to the Ghassemlou assassination was due to their wish to avoid provoking the IRI regime. See News – September 17, 1997, supra note 217 and Eskorte nach Teheran supra note 189.

[239] See Urteil des Oberlanesgerichtes Wien, 15 September 1992 [Vienna Applet Court Judgment, September 15 1992], 10. April 1997, OLGSt Vienna, 1 Ob 28/92.

[240] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[241] See IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos, supra note 18 at 6.

[242] See Mykonos Urteil [Mykonos Judgment], Urteil des Kammergerichts Berlin vom 10. April 1997 [Judgement of the Court of Appeal of Berlin on April 10, 1997], OLGSt Berlin, (1) 2 StE 2/93 (19/93).

[243] Mohammad Hadi Hadavi Moghaddam, an agent of the IRI Ministry of Intelligence was responsible for gathering information on Kurdish opposition groups who had contacts among the Kurdish diaspora. See IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos, supra note 18 at 7; also see Witness statement of Abolghassem Mesbahi (witness C) on Sept. 26, 1996.  System-i jinayatkar: Asnad-i Dadgah-i Mikunus [Criminal System: Documents of the Mykonos Trial] 173 and 178 (Mihran Payandih et al. trans. 2000).

[244] See generally Mykonos Urteil [Mykonos Judgment], Urteil des Kammergerichts Berlin vom 10. April 1997 [Judgement of the Court of Appeal of Berlin on April 10, 1997], OLGSt Berlin, (1) 2 StE 2/93 (19/93).

[245] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.  

[246] Farzan Hashemi, Obituary: Kazem Rajavi, The Independent, April 28, 1990.

[247] Joseph Sobran, Killings Continue; There are No Iranian Moderates, Tulsa World, June 4, 1990.

[248] Id.

[249] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 42 (1993).

[250] “Ruthless Assassination of Dr. Kazem Rajavi,” Remarks by Hon. Jim Bates in the House of Representatives, May 10, 1990, available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/congress/1990_cr/h900510-terror.htm (accessed March 24, 2008).

[251] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[252] Safa Haeri and Ahmed Vahdatkhah, Iraqi solution to Dr. Rajavi of Geneva, The Independent, April 29, 1990. Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994, states that a sixth bullet hit his body.

[253] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[254] Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[255] Joseph Sobran, Killings Continue; There are No Iranian Moderates, Tulsa World (June 4, 1990). In what may have been a sophisticated public relations gambit, Iran helped negotiate the release of an American hostage held in Lebanon, Robert Polhill, immediately prior to the murder of Rajavi, successfully distracting the attention of the international media away from Rajavi’s assassination. Instead of worldwide condemnation as a terrorist state, Iran received praise from Washington and elsewhere for its ‘moderating’ influence in securing the release of the American diplomat. Media attention did not return to Rajavi’s death until later that summer. See also Evans and Novak, Police Identify Suspected Killers of Kazem Rajavi, Middle East Economic Digest, May 25, 1990; Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[256] Evans and Novak, Police Identify Suspected Killers of Kazem Rajavi, Middle East Economic Digest, May 25, 1990.

[257] Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[258] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[259] Written Statement by the World Confederation of Labor to the UNHCHR, Justice for Professor Kazem Radjavi (February 17, 1994); Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[260] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[261] Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[262] Id.

[263] Jean-Patric Voudenay, Enviados de la Muerte, El Mundo, January 30, 1994.

[264] Evans and Novak, Police Identify Suspected Killers of Kazem Rajavi, Middle East Economic Digest, May 25, 1990.

[265] George Lardner, Jr., Lawmakers Rebuke Iran for Policy of Terrorism, The Washington Post, July 19, 1990.

[266] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 45 (1993).

[267] Id. at 46.

[268] Interim Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights in accordance with Commission Resolution 1994/73 and Economic and Social Council Decision 1994/263, A/49/514, October 14, 1994.

[269] Id.

[270] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 43 (1993).

[271] Id.

[272] Alan Riding, France Sends 2 Murder Suspects Back to Iran, Stirring Wide Protest, The New York Times, January 4, 1994.

[273] Id.

[274] Charles Bremner, Balladur accused of Appeasing Tehran over Terror Suspects, The Times, January 3, 1994.

[275] Alan Riding, France Sends 2 Murder Suspects Back to Iran, Stirring Wide Protest, The New York Times, January 4, 1994.

[276] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 45 (1993).

[277] Switzerland seeks arrest of Iranian ex-minister for political killing, Agence France Presse, April 9, 2006. 

[278] Office of the Public Prosecutor V. Mojtaba Mashhady, No. A 99/065888 M.L/E.F.- M.TH.L at 6 (Appellate Court of Paris, 2nd Criminal Panel of the Court, February 11, 2000), (unanimous decision of Judges Bruno Waechter, Marguerite Laurent, Luc-Michel Nivose).

[279] Id.

[280] Dariush Elahi v. IRI and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, 124 F. Supp. 2d 97, at 8 (December 20, 2000) [hereinafter ‘Elahi v. IRI’] exhibite 102, résume of Manouchehr Ganji.

[281] Transcript of the Proceedings, at 280-282, Dariush Elahi v. Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, 124 F. Supp. 2d 97 (DDC Nov 8, 2000) (No1: 99CV-02802) [hereinafter ‘Elahi Proceeding’]. Also see  Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 ¶ 13.

[282] According to Manouchehr Ganji, see Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 298.

[283] SECURE stands for Socio-Economic and Cultural Upliftment and Rehabilitation. See Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance 171 (2002).

[284] Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 289.

[285] Id. at 293.

[286] According to Manouchehr Ganji, see Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 287.

[287] French free Elahi assassin, The Iran Brief, Middle East Data Project, November 8, 1999.

[288] Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance 195 (2002).

[289] Dariush Elahi v. The IRI and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, No. 99-2808, 124 F. Supp. 2d 97, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19793, at 8 (December 20, 2000).

[290] Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 at 8.

[291] Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 206.

[292] Id.

[293] Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 at 8.

[294] Office of the Public Prosecutor v. Mojtaba Mashhady, No. A 99/065888 M.L/E.F.- M.TH.L. (Appellate Court of Paris, 2nd Criminal Panel of the Court February 11, 2000) at 4 (Unanimous decision of Judges Bruno Waechter, Marguerite Laurent, Luc-Michel Nivose).

[295] Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 139. According to Dariush Elahi, “My memory says it could have been for a period as much as three to four minutes that they were struggling before he was hit in the head twice. I remember that graphically in the police station.” Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 226.

[296] Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 138.

[297] Id.

[298] Office of the Public Prosecutor v. Mojtaba Mashhady, No. A 99/065888 M.L/E.F.- M.TH.L at 4 (Appellate Court of Paris, 2nd Criminal Panel of the Court, February 11, 2000), (unanimous decision of Judges Bruno Waechter, Marguerite Laurent, Luc-Michel Nivose).

[299] Elahi Proceeding, supra note 281 at 132.

[300] Ghorbanifar’s brother, Manouchehr Ghorbanifar, is a well known Iranian arms dealer who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s.

[301] The DST believed that Iran Air’s General Director of Security in Paris, a man named Seyyed Reza Saberi, was in reality “a senior officer of the Ministry of Security and Intelligence [of Iran] whose specific role covers the assassination of dissidents in exile.” The British authorities banned Saberi from the United Kingdom, citing his links to the Ministry of Intelligence. In May 1992, Mashhady approached the DST to see whether DST could find a way to allow Saberi, a former member of the Revolutionary Guard, to stay in France. Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280. See Cour d’Appel de Paris, Requisitoire Definitif de Renvoi Devant Le Tribunal Correctionnel de Paris (Paris Applet Court, Public Prosecutor’s Referral to the Criminal Court of Paris – Mashhday and Yazdenseta) (April 5, 1996) [hereinafter Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta] at 6.

[302] In Matters: against Mojtaba Mashhady and other, Object: Minutes of the information on the activities and declaration of Mojtaba Mashhady. Prepared by Jean Fancois Gayraud, Police Inspector attached to the Ministry of Interior’s Intelligence Service, November 14, 1994, [hereinafter Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady] at 89.

[303] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 89.

[304] Id.

[305] Id. at 90. IHRDC recovered a copy of the Decree to Assassinate Manouchehr Ganji, signed by Prosecutor General of Iran, Hojjatolislam Mousavi Tabrizi [Attached as Appendix 5].

[306] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 101.

[307] Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta, supra note 301 at 8.

[308] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 124.

[309] Minutes of Witness Testimony, Gen Ref: 902993901/6, Ref. Cab: 1204, January 10, 1994 (Farhad Ghiasvand interviewed by Judge Bruguière) at 124.

[310] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 89.

[311] Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta, supra note 301 at 7.

[312] Id. at 7.

[313] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 90.

[314] Id. at 90.

[315] The phone number was 23 90 98 (a Tehran number). Id. at 91.

[316] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 302 at 91.

[317] The Minitel is a French online service accessible through the telephone lines. It was launched in France in 1982 and is similar in many ways to the Internet.

[318] Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta, supra note 301 at 5.

[319] Minutes on the information on the activities and declaration of Mashhady, supra note 304 at 92.

[320] Ali Reza Hanaee Miandoabad interviewed by Loic Garnier, Police Prefecture Criminal Investigation Department Criminal Division Record, December 29, 1994, at 108.

[321] Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta, supra note 301 at 8.

[322] Id.

[323] Id.

[324] Id.

[325] Minutes of Witness Testimony of Hossein Yazdenseta interviewed by Judge Bruguière, Gen Ref: 902993901/6, Ref. Cab: 1204, December 22, 1994 at 104-105.

[326] Ali Reza Hanaee Miandoabad interviewed by Loic Garnier, Police Prefecture Criminal Investigation Department Criminal Division Record, December 29, 1994, at 109.

[327] Id.

[328] Minutes of Witness Testimony of Hossein Yazdenseta (District Court of Paris, Chamber of J. Bruguière,  January 21, 1994) at 97.

[329] Prosecutor’s Referral to the CC of Paris – Mashhady and Yazdenseta, supra note 301 at 1.

[330] Id. at 13-14.

[331] Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 ¶ 26.

[332] Mashhady Indictment, No. A 99/06558 M.L./E.F.-M.TH.L., (CA Paris, 2nd ch., February 11, 2000) at 8.

[333] French free Elahi assassin, The Iran Brief, Middle East Data Project, November 8, 1999.

[334] Mashhady Indictment, No. A 99/06558 M.L./E.F.-M.TH.L., (CA Paris, 2nd ch., February 11, 2000) at 7.

[335] Khatami to visit France, Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd., October 5, 1999.

[336] Mashhady Indictment, No. A 99/06558 M.L./E.F.-M.TH.L., (CA Paris, 2nd ch., February 11, 2000) at 1.

[337] Iranj Fatemi, Confusion and Contradictions marked third session of Dr. Elahi’s court, Iran Press Service, June 28, 2000, available at http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/jun_2001/elahi_court_28601.htm (accessed August 2, 2006).

[338] Iranj Fatemi, Paris Criminal Court cleared Mashadi of charges in Elahi’s murder, Iran Press Service, June 29, 2001, available at http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/jun_2001/elahi_court_ends_29601.htm (accessed August 2, 2006).

[339] Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 at 4.

[340] Id. at 6, exhibit 58 at 4, and exhibit 59 at 110.

[341] Elahi v. IRI, supra note 280 at ¶ 19.

[342] Id. at ¶ 24.

[343] Id. at ¶ 25.

[344] Id. at 26.

[345] Id. at 11.

[346] Id. at 13. 

[347] Id. at 14.

[348] Id. at 15-16.

[349] Kenneth Ofgang, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules: Slain Dissident’s Brother Can Attach Award to Iran’s Government, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, October 8, 2004.

[350] Supreme Court of the United States, Ministry of Defense and Support for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. Dariush Elahi on Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 04–1095. Decided February 21, 2006.

[351] In suit by private citizen to attach Iran’s Swiss arbitration award to satisfy default judgment in tort case against Iran, Supreme Court rules that Ninth Circuit erred in treating Iranian defense ministry as agent or instrumentality of foreign state under FSIA, International Law Update- Sovereign Immunity, Vol. 12, No. 6, June 2006.

[352] As opposition to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s rule grew throughout 1978, the Shah finally turned to a moderate opposition figure, Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar, to form a government. Dr. Bakhtiar had been under-secretray of Labor in Prime Minister Mossadegh’s government in 1951-53 and was arrested and imprisoned on several occasions in the 1960s by the Shah because of his political activities. He was the leader of the social democratic Iran Party, one of the oldest and most influential parties of the opposition National Front coalition. In October 1978 he had begun to speak out in favor of meeting the Shah halfway with the formation of an interim government. He opposed the decision of other constitutionalist leaders to align themselves publicly with Khomeini. Dr. Bakhtiar assumed the office of Prime Minister on January 3, 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini rejected the new government, declaring it illegal. In a letter read out in the mosques on 6 January, he equated obedience to Bakhtiar with “obedience to false gods.” See Musahibiyyih Imruz-i Doctor Sanjabi [Dr. Sanjabi’s Interview Today], Ettella’at, 19 Dey 1357, (January 9, 1979); Bih Dunbal-i Davat-i Imam Khomeini, Jibhiyyih Milli Farda Ra ham Azayih Umumi Ilam Kard [Following Imam Khomeini’s invitation, The National Front Announced Tomorrow to be a National Mourning Day], Ettella’at, 17 Dey 1357 (January 7, 1979). Dr. Bakhtiar was also expelled from the National Front by the organization’s Central Council. See Menashri supra note 8 at 64. On February 5, 1979, Khomeini moved to form a parallel government by appointing Mehdi Bazargan as the Prime Minster of the interim Islamic Revolutionary Government. Dr. Bakhtiar was left with little room for maneuver and few allies. On February 11, his government, and the Shah’s regime, collapsed after the Supreme Military Council declared itself “neutral in the current political disputes … in order to prevent further disorder and bloodshed.” See Artish ’Ilam-i Bitarafi Kard [The Army Announced its Neutrality], Kayhan, 22 Bahman 1357 (February 11, 1979). See also Ingilab va Piruzi, Karnamih va Khatirat-i Salhayih 1357 va 1358 [Revolution and Victory, the Report Card and Memories of 1979 - 1980] (Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Center for Publication of Culture of the Revolution) at 187; Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions 529 (1982); life of the Ayatollah Supra note 3 at 206. Dr. Bakhtiar was in the office for just thirty-seven days, during which time he had begun to institute a series of reforms intended to move the country toward a democratic constitutional monarchy. He had dissolved SAVAK, freed political prisoners, reopened the universities, granted freedom of the press and abolished censorship. See Menashri supra note 8 at 63-64. After his fall from power, Dr. Bakhtiar went into hiding, finally fleeing to France in July 1979. Upon his arrival in Paris, he publicly spoke out against the creation of an Islamic Republic, describing Ayatollah Khomeini as “ignorant, uncultured, narrow-minded and obstinate.” See Menashri supra note 8 at 94. In mid-September 1979, he organized an anti-Khomeini rally in London, at which he declared that he would not abandon his struggle until Khomeini was removed from power. See Menashri supra note 8 at 94. Dr. Bakhtiar laid early claim to the leadership of the exiled opposition and set up a radio station in Iraq called Radio Iran, which he used to direct a stream of invective against Ayatollah Khomeini. He was careful to avoid being too closely associated with the royalist cause, although he continued to call for the restoration of a “Swedish-style” constitutional monarchy. See Menashri, supra note 8 at 143. In August 1980, Dr. Bakhtiar founded the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) described by its members as a “broad-based coalition of Iranian people inside and outside the country, who are working for the end of Khomeini’s tyrannical, theocratic regime and its replacement by a democratic government.” National Movement of the Iranian Resistance was established in August of 1980 by Shapour Bakhtiar with the help of his friends, most notably Abdorrahman Boroumand. To read more about NAMIR, see About NAMIR, National Movement of the Iranian Resistance, available at http://impact.users.netlink.co.uk/namir/namir1.htm (accessed August 15, 2006); see also Dr. Boroumand’s comments about NAMIR and its activities in About Abdorrahman Boroumand, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/about_boroumand.php (accessed August 15, 2006). 

[353] No information is available regarding Sourosh Katibeh.

[354] Extracts from the instruction relative to the double assassination of Shapour Bakhtiar and Sorouch Katibeth, Plaintiff’s Exhibit 68. No. 1:01CV00850, at 3.

[355] Also on May 14, 1979, Hojjatolislam Khalkhali in an interview with the Iranian newspaper Kayhan, proclaimed his intention to eliminate “the corrupters on earth.” Declaring that “those who left Iran after the revolution were considered genuine criminals,” and “incurred the death penalty,” Ayatollah Khalkhali named Dr. Bakhtiar among the persons for which this remark was intended. [Emphasis from original]. Extracts from the instruction relative to the double assassination of Shapour Bakhtiar and Sorouch Katibeth, Plaintiff’s Exhibit 68. No. 1:01CV00850, at 3. See also Khalkhali’s Memoir supra note 4 at 75.

[356] Khalkhali’s Memoir Supra note 4 at 75.

[357] The apartment belonged to Dr. Abdorrahman Boroumand, a former member of the National Front Council who resigned following the expulsion of Bakhtiar, and another prominent critic of the clerical regime. Boroumand was murdered in Paris on April 18, 1991.

[358] One Person’s Story, Mr. Jean-Michel Jamme, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at www.abfiran.org/english/person-29125.php (accessed April 1, 2008).

[359] One Person’s Story, Ms. Yvonne Stein, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at www.abfiran.org/english/person-29124.php (accessed April 1, 2008).

[360] Id.

[361] Jean-Yves Chaperon and Jean-Noël Tournier, Enquete sur l'assassinat de chapour bakhtiar, at 14 (1997).

[362] Izharat-i Ghotbzadeh Dar Rabitih Ba Hamliyih Musalahanih Bih Bakhtiar [Ghotbzadeh [Foreign Minister]’s Statement Regarding Armed Attack on Bakhtiar], Ettella’at, 29 Tir 1359 (July 20, 1980).

[363] Pulis-i Faransih Mushakhasat-i Hamlih Kunadigan Bih Bakhtiyar Ra I’lam Kard [French Police Release Information About Bakhtiar’s Attackers], Ettella’at (Tehran), No. 16194, Tir 29, 1359 (July 20, 1980).

[364] Id.

[365] See Robert Fisk, Two faces of an unlikely assassin; Robert Fisk talks to a Tehran hitman who tells his story for the first time, The Independent, October 27, 1991.

[366] Juz’iyat-i Hamliyih Musalahanih Bih Khaniyih Bakhtiar [Details on Armed Attack to Bakhtiar’s Home], Ettella’at, 28 Tir 1359 (July 19, 1980). Also see, Ittila’iyyih Vizarat-i Umur-i Kharijih: Guruh-i Nashunakhtiyih ‘Pasdaran-i Islam’ Hich Irtibati Ba Pasdaran-i Inqilab Islamiyih Iran Nadarad [Announcement of the Foreign Ministry: The Unknown Group ‘Pasdaran-i Islam’ has no connection with Pasdaran-i Inqilab-i Islamiyyih Iran (Revolutionary Guards)], Ettella’at, 29 Tir 1359 (July 20, 1980).

[367] Ittila’iyyih Vizarat-i Umur-i Kharijih: Guruh-i Nashunakhtiyih ‘Pasdaran-i Islam’ Hich Irtibati Ba Pasdaran-i Inqilab Islamiyih Iran Nadarad [Announcement of the Foreign Ministry: The Unknown Group ‘Pasdaran-i Islam’ has no connection with Pasdaran-i Inqilab-i Islamiyyih Iran (Revolutionary Guards)], Ettella’at, 29 Tir 1359 (July 20, 1980) and Izharat-i Ghotbzadeh Dar Rabitih Ba Hamliyih Musalahanih Bih Bakhtiar [Ghotbzadeh [Foreign Minister]’s Statement Regarding Armed Attack on Bakhtiar], Ettella’at, 29 Tir 1359 (July 20, 1980).

[368] One Person’s Story, Mr. Jean-Michel Jamme, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at www.abfiran.org/english/person-29125.php (accessed April 1, 2008).

[369] See generally Mark Gasiorowski, The Nuzhih Plot and Iranian Politics, International Journal of the Middle East Studies, Vol. 34 (2002).

[370] Imam Fitvayih I’dam-i Tamam-i Hamrahan-i Kudita Ra Sadir Kard [The Imam Issued an Execution Fatwa for Everyone Involved in the Coup], Ettella’at, 29 Tir 1359 (July 20, 1980). [Attached as Appendix 4]

[371] Partly from Two faces of an unlikely assassin; Robert Fisk talks to a Tehran hitman who tells his story for the first time, The Independent, October 27, 1991.

[372] See Robert Fisk, Two faces of an unlikely assassin; Robert Fisk talks to a Tehran hitman who tells his story for the first time, The Independent, October 27, 1991 at 17;  See also Majaray-i Tirur-i Bakhtiar Az Zaban-i Anis Naqash [the Bakhtiar Terror as told by Anis Naccache], the interview with Bayan newspaper quoted by Payam-i Iran, November 17, 1991, in which he repeated that the killing of Bakhtiar was necessary for the Iranian revolution.

[373] Chaperon and Tournier, Enquete sur l'assassinat de chapour bakhtiar, 17 (1997) [Translation by IHRDC].

[374] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 37 (1993).

[375] Id.

[376] Chaperon and Tournier, Enquete sur l'assassinat de chapour bakhtiar, 17 (1997) [Translation by IHRDC]. See also Martin Kramer, Haggling over Hostages, The Jerusalem Report, May 30, 1991.

[377] Robert Fisk, Two faces of an unlikely assassin; Robert Fisk talks to a Tehran hitman who tells his story for the first time, The Independent, Oct. 27, 1991.

[378] Robert Fisk, Two faces of an unlikely assassin; Robert Fisk talks to a Tehran hitman who tells his story for the first time, The Independent, Oct. 27, 1991.

[379] America's futile war, Shanghai Star, November 29, 2001, available at http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2001/1129/cn8-1.html (accessed April 17, 2007).

[380] Karimi was born in 1961 to a politically active family. He lost his father and his uncle to the Islamic Republic of Iran and was himself arrested twice before fleeing to France. He had joined Mr. Bakhtiar’s movement in 1984. Karimi was both director of the National Iranian Resistance Movement’s youth organization and a member of its Executive Council. See Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 39-40 [on file with the IHRDC] and William C. Rempel, Recruiting a Political Assassin: Iran’s KGB-like Spies at Work, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1994.

[381] Id. According to pieces of information that could not be confirmed, Manouchehr Akasheh supposedly died of cancer in July or August 1992. See Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 39-40 [on file with the IHRDC].

[382] IHRDC statement of Fariborz Karimi, (July 1, 2006) [on file with IHRDC].

[383] Id.

[384] William C. Rempel, Recruiting a Political Assassin: Iran’s KGB-like Spies at Work, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1994; also IHRDC statement of Fariborz Karimi (July 1, 2006) [on file with IHRDC].

[385] William C. Rempel, Recruiting a Political Assassin: Iran’s KGB-like Spies at Work, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1994; also IHRDC statement of Fariborz Karimi (July 1, 2006) [on file with IHRDC].

[386] William C. Rempel, Recruiting a Political Assassin: Iran’s KGB-like Spies at Work, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1994.

[387] Id. Dr. Bakhtiar advised Karimi that “whatever he proposes, don’t say anything positive or negative.” See also IHRDC statement of Fariborz Karimi (July 1, 2006) [on file with IHRDC].

[388] IHRDC statement of Fariborz Karimi (July 1, 2006) [on file with IHRDC].

[389] William C. Rempel, Recruiting a Political Assassin: Iran’s KGB-like Spies at Work, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1994.

[390] Louise Lief, Murder, they wrote: Iran’s web of terror, US News & World Report, Vol. 111, No. 25 (16 December 1991) [hereinafter Murder, they wrote].

[391] Boyerahmadi joined the National Movement of Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) and became a close associate of Dr. Bakhtiar sometime in 1984 and had been feeding information about him to Iranian intelligence since then. Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 3, and Murder, they wrote, supra note 390.

[392] Further investigation by Judge Bruguière established that the Iranian Civil Service allowed Azadi to have two passports under two different names: Mohammad Azadi and Naser Nourian. He had also a Turkish passport with Swiss visa under the name of Kaya. Ali Vakili Rad also had two passports with two different names: Ali Vakili Rad and Amir Kamal Hosseini. He had a Turkish passport with Swiss visa under the name of Kocer. Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 8 and 14.

[393] Murder, they wrote, supra note 390. The CRS visitors’ log revealed that the meeting was for one hour (between 5 and 6 p.m.). Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 1-2.

[394] The French officer patted down the visitors and put a package carried by one of the visitors through the metal detector (the package contained a picture frame, a gift for Bakhtiar).  Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 2.

[395] See generally Transcript of Trial, Rafii v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2004 U.S. Dist. (D.D.C., Nov. 04, 2002) (CA No. 01-850 CKK).

[396] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[397] Dar Dadgah-i Bakhtiyar – Procés Bakhtiyar [In Bakhtiar’s Court], (Pari Sekandari, Edition Pouya, 1995) [hereinafter ‘In Bakhtiar’s Court’] at 101.

[398] Id. at 101.

[399] Id. at 102.

[400] Boyerahmadi collected the assassins’ passports from the guards while the others, spattered with blood, waited in the house. Safa Haeri Paris, Iranian ministers to face Bakhtiar charges, Sunday Times, October 6, 1991.

[401] In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 9.

[402] Erich Inciyan, Suspected killers run rings round the police, Manchester Guardian Weekly, August 25 1991.

[403] Terril Jones, Police Let Go Suspected Assassins of Iranian Ex-Premier, Associated Press, August 13, 1991.

[404] Murder, they wrote, supra note 390.

[405] In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 9.

[406] Id. at 9; and The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[407] Witnesses link Bakhtiar murder to Tehran, Agence France Presse, November 8, 1994.

[408] Chaperon and Tournier, Enquete sur l'assassinat de chapour bakhtiar, 153-154 (1997) [Translation by IHRDC].

[409] Murder, they wrote, supra note 390.

[410] Id. The two assassins were turned over to the French police by the Swiss authorities, but they were released soon afterward when it was established that their French visas were valid. Terril Jones, Police Let Go Suspected Assassins of Iranian Ex-Premier, Associated Press, August 13, 1991. According to analysis of the intercepted phone calls made by Vakili Rad and Azadi, it was an Iranian-born Turkish citizen, Mesut Edipsoy, who provided them with false Turkish passports in the names of Ghahreman and Aydin. Before and after the murder of Dr. Bakhtiar, two Iranians involved in the plot called the Telecommunications Ministry several times from Edipsoy’s apartment. Edipsoy and the two counterfeiters who had actually prepared the false passports were interrogated in Turkey; but before the French authorities had a chance to question them, they were released by the Turkish Government on September 6, 1991. In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 13-25. See also One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006), citing Liberation, September 20, 1991.

[411] Fereshteh Jahanbani (see infra note 424) believed that the reason the murderers were not able to get in touch with their contact was because the French police had not released the news of Bakhtiar’s death, and so the contacts had not been alerted to the completion of the operation. In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 141.

[412] Murder, they wrote, supra note 390.

[413] Id.

[414] The wallet also contained a piece of paper with the phone number that Vakili Rad and Azadi had been trying to contact in Istanbul. Annecy is a small French town less than an hour’s drive from Geneva.

[415] Murder, they wrote, supra note 390. Vakili Rad was subsequently extradited to France.

[416] Zeynolabedine Sarhadi and Naser Ghaseminejad, see Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 13.

[417] Id. at 10, 12.

[418] Id. at 15.

[419] Iranian Intelligence Killed Bakhtiar, Mednews – Middle East Defense News, September 30, 1991.

[420] Id.

[421] Id. During Anis Naccache’s trial in 1982, Hendi yelled three times and chanted pro Khomeini and anti-Bakhtiar slogans, until the judge dismissed him from the court. In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 52.

[422] Iranian Intelligence Killed Bakhtiar, Mednews- Middle East Defense News, September 30, 1991.

[423] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 36 (1993). Gharazi’s name would also surface in connection with the murder of Mohammad Naghdi (see below).

[424] One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006), citing Liberation, October 25, 1991.

[425] Sheikh Attar was the technical adviser for the Satellite Communication Program to the Iranian Ministry of Telecommunications, which is known for its close connections to Iranian Special Services. One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006), citing Le Figaro, April 22, 1993.

[426] Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 16.

[427] U.N. ESCOR, 50th Sess., Item 12, at para 63, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1994/50 (1995). See also Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 38 (1993).

[428] Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 31, 32.

[429] In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 16.

[430] Id. at 15.

[431] Alan Riding, 3 Iranians Go on Trial in France in Slaying of Exiled Ex-Premier, the New York Times, November 3, 1994

[432] One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006), citing Liberation, October 4, 1991.

[433] Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 37.

[434] See Id. citing Le Monde, October 26, 1991.

[435] Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 32.

[436] Id. These documents included papers from the Iranian government regarding his trip to Switzerland.

[437] Id.

[438] One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006), citing Le Figaro, April 22, 1993.

[439] The court was chaired by Eve Jacoub, the prominent French Judge and Mr. Jacque Mouton was the Prosecutor. Because the case dealt with a terrorist act, the jury was comprised not of ordinary citizens, but of seven high-ranking professional judges. Two of the accused, Zeinolabedine Sarhadi and Ali Vakili Rad, did not know French, so Dr. Ruhollah Abbasi and Mr. Rezvanian acted as translators. In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 5.

[440] One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006).

[441] U.N. ESCOR, 51st Sess., Item 12, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1995/55 (January, 16 1995), Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/73 and Economic and Social Council decision 1994/263, paragraph 27. See also Translation of Judge Bruguière’s report in the Bakhtiar murder case, at 40.

[442] In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397  at 22.

[443] U.N. ESCOR, 51st Sess., Item 12, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1995/55 (January, 16 1995).

[444] Paul Taylor, Tehran’s Shadow Looms Over Bakhtiar Murder Trial, Reuters News, November 2, 1994. See also U.N. ESCOR, 51st Sess., Item 12, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1995/55 (January, 16 1995).

[445] “Findings regarding the Iranian State Terrorism.” Excerpts from the German Bundeskriminalamt [BKA] (Federal Office of Criminal Investigation) Report at 4-5. (Translated from German) (On file with the IHRDC).

[446] One Person’s Story, Shapur Bakhtiar, OMID – a Memorial in Defense of Human Rights, available at http://www.abfiran.org/english/person-28402.php (accessed August 15, 2006).

[447] In Bakhtiar’s Court, supra note 397 at 23.

[448] The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[449] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 25 (1993).

[450] Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273, E/CN 4/1994/50, February 2, 1994, at 43.

[451] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 27-28 (1993).

[452] Id. at 26.

[453] Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273, E/CN 4/1994/50, February 2, 1994 at 43.

[454] Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273, E/CN 4/1994/50, February 2, 1994 at 43.

[455] Id.

[456] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 26-27 (1993).

[457] Chris Hedges, Isolation and Internal Unrest Trouble Iran, The New York Times, 22 June 1993.

[458] Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273, E/CN 4/1994/50, February 2, 1994 at 43.

[459] Id.

[460] Mazlouman was born in Mashhad, Iran, on January 8, 1936. He received his B.A. in literature from University of Tabriz on 1959, and completed his doctoral degree in criminology in 1969 in Paris, France. His doctoral research on the roots of crime in Muslim countries became the basis of his various books about Islam. In 1974, he became the head of the Financial Department of the Ministry of Higher Education in Iran, and in 1976, he was hired as a deputy to the Minister of Education, Dr. Manouchehr Ganji. Mazlouman kept that position until a month before the Islamic revolution. His biography is available at http://www.derafsh-kaviyani.com/english/aryamanesheng.html (accessed April 13, 2007). In exile, Dr. Mazlouman frequently used the alias Dr. Kourosh Ariyamanesh. See Iran Press Service, Alleged  Iranian Intelligence Officer sentenced to 17 Years in Paris, June 23, 2001, available at http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/jun_2001/jayhooni_sentenced_23601.htm (accessed April 1, 2008).

[461] Press Release, Reporters without Borders, RSF a demandé à se constituer partie civile dans le procés d’Ahmad Jayhooni [RSF has requested to be a civil party in the trial of Ahmad Jayhouni] (June 22, 2001), available at http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/13864 (accessed April 1, 2008); see also Ordonnance, infra note 481 at 5.

[462] Ordonnance de transmission du dossier et des pieces a conviction au procurer general [Order of transmission of file and exhibits to general prosecutor] Tribunal de Grande Instance, Cabinet de Jean-Louis Bruguière, Parquet No. P9615039023, Cabinet No. 1293 [herinafter ‘Ordonnance’] at 7. See also See also, Dadsitan-i Inqilabiyih Artish, Ittihamat-i 8 Saltanat Talab Ra I’lam Kard [The Revolutionary Prosecutor of the Special Court of the Armed Forces Announced the Accusations of 8 Royalists], Ettella’at, 25 Aban 1361 (November 16, 1982) noting that Mazlouman was anti-Islam and anti-Koran and was against the IRI, so he was subject to prosecution and therefore left Iran illegally.

[463] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 8.

[464] Iran Press Service, Court Told Iranian Agents Killed Dr. Reza Mazlouman, available at http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/jun_2001/jayhooni_trial_20601.htm (accessed July 18, 2005).

[465] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 7.

[466] Id.  at 9.

[467] Jayhouni’s explanation for driving all the way to Mazlouman’s house without alerting him first was that he was coming to collect money that Mazlouman owed him, and that each time he informed Mazlouman of his arrival beforehand, Mazlouman would take care to not be at home when he stopped by. Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 12.

[468] Id. at 8.

[469] Id. at 3.  Jayhouni later denied that he had been asked to stay for the night. Id.  at 34.

[470] Id. at 8.

[471] Id. at 10; Thomas Sancton, Iran’s State of Terror, Time Europe (11 November 1996).

[472] Id. at 8-9.

[473] Id. at 2, 10, and 14. Investigators at the scene of the crime noted that: 1) access to the interior of the building was impossible without going through two successive glass doors that opened electronically; 2) Mazlouman’s name was not on the intercom buzzer or the front door to his apartment, so the assassin would not have been able to identify which apartment he lived in unless they knew in advance; 3) there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment; 4) remains of cigarettes were found in ashtrays all over the apartment; 5) tests revealed that Mazlouman had drunk alcohol. Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 2-3, 10.

[474] Id. at 4- 5.

[475] Id. at 19. A 13-year-old schoolgirl said that she had seen a white BMW in the basement parking lot of the apartment building  around 9:30 or 10 p.m. Another witness recalled noticing a white vehicle leave the parking lot around 10 p.m. A third witness, a 12-year-old schoolgirl, said that she had seen a young man in his twenties run out of the apartment building at approximately the same time.

[476] Id. at 12. See also Terrorisme: Un Iranien mis en examen et incarcéré, [Terrorism: An Iranian interrogated and incarcerated], Reuters, October 25, 1996.

[477] Thomas Sancton, Iran’s State of Terror, Time Europe (11 November 1996). See also Un “temoin important” interpelle en Allegmagne après l’assassinat d’un opposant Iranian a Cretei [An “Important Witness” interrogated in Germany after the assassination of an Iranian dissident at Creteil], Le Monde, June 1, 1996.

[478] See Decree to Assassinate Manouchehr Ganji, signed by Prosecutor General of Iran, Hojjatolislam Mousavi Tabrizi, dated 3/17/1993 [Attached as Appendix 5].

[479] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 4-5 and 22-24. Ganji provided the French police with some of Jayhouni’s letters and faxes, some signed by Jayhouni and one written from someone under the pseudonym “Pouraya,” indicating that his phone number was 228.36.22.09 (which was found to match the number of Jayhouni’s video store in Bonn). See also, Atash-e Nahofteh [the Hidden Fire], (Manuchehr Ganji, Manuchehr Ganji, 2000) at 574-583, which reproduced copies of the letters in Farsi.

[480] Information found in relation to the trial of Mojtaba Mashhady for the murder of Cyrus Elahi showed that Dr. Manouchehr Ganji was the primary target of the Iranian regime throughout this period. It is reasonable to assume that Reza Mazlouman, although a potential target himself, was possibly also perceived as a way to approach Ganji in order to eliminate him. Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 22.

[481] Olivier Varin, C’est l’homme le plus menace de France [He is the Most Threatened Man in France], Paris Match, October 6, 1994. The article says: “Numerous mysterious characters continue to want to meet Dr. Ganji personally … for example, a thriving middleman who made a fortune doing business with Tehran, Ahmad Jayhouni, who went so far as to offer his fortune to the resistance … ‘The more they want to trap me, the more they make me tempting propositions,’ said Ganji. The same sponsor is behind all these seductive attempts, the IRI embassy in Bonn, and more particularly the office of Ali Gholami, the high-level official designated as the contact of the [murdered] singer Farokhzad and the person behind the killings of Sadegh Sharafkandi and his three Kurdish Iranian allies in the back room of the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin.”

[482] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 4.

[483] Id. at 9.

[484] Id. at 7.

[485] Id. at 9. Dr. Ganji stated that he had warned Dr. Mazlouman about Jayhouni and alerted French Security Service (DST) about him. Also Dr. Mazlouman’s associate, Sattar Salimi, stated that Jayhouni (to whom he had been introduced by Mazlouman) had expressed the wish to meet those close to Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar, such as Dr. Manouchehr Ganji. Salimi stayed for three days at Jayhouni’s house in Bonn, after which one of his friends warned him about Jayhouni, saying that he was suspected of spying on behalf of the Iranian regime. While this may just have been a rumor, Salimi felt he should warn Dr. Mazlouman, but Mazlouman did not heed this warning. Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 5-6. In fact, Cyrus Amouzgar, Dr. Mazlouman’s brother-in-law, recalled that after Dr. Mazlouman’s death, a friend of his in Bonn expressed astonishment that Mazlouman had trusted Jayhouni, “when all the Iranians in Bonn knew of this individual’s relationship with the Iranian secret service.” Id. at 28.

[486] Id. at 23, 25.

[487] Alleged Iranian Intelligence Officer Sentenced to 17 years in Paris, Iran Press Services, June 23, 2001, available at http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/jun_2001/jayhooni_sentenced_23601.htm (accessed on Jul 18, 2005).

[488] Id. at 7. The DST requested that the German authorities search their files for traces on Jayhouni. The Germans responded on March 8, 1994, that there was an Ahmad Jayhouni, residing in Meckenheim, who, in 1992, had been in contact with a member of the Iranian intelligence service posted at the Iranian Embassy in Bonn. They also found that Jayhouni was suspected of “videotaping Iranian dissidents then sending the footage to the Iranian Intelligence Service.”  

[489] Id. at 25.

[490] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 25.

[491] Id. at 25.

[492] Id. at 15-18. When the police interviewed Jayhouni’s family, his wife stated that he had left their home at 5 am and returned around 11:20, after having called her on the phone around 8 p.m. Jayhouni’s daughter said he had called her around 8:30 and must have returned around 11:10 p.m. Id. at 15.

[493] Id. at 13.

[494] Id. at 13.

[495] Id. at.37.

[496] Id. at 39.

[497] Id. at 21-24, and The Tehran Connection, supra note 21.

[498] Statuant en Premier Ressort: Cour d’assises de Paris, Arret criminal 22 June 2001 (Ruling of the Criminal Court of Paris, Criminal Arrest, June 22, 2001). Jayhouni was convicted in both a civil and a criminal proceeding, both heard before the Special Cour d’assises in Paris on June 22, 2001. His appeal, heard on August 22, 2001 by the Paris Appellate Court was denied. See Assassinat de M. Reza Mazlouman, ex-Vice Ministre du Shah d’Iran [Assassination of Mr. Reza Mazlouman, Former Vice Minister of the Shah of Iran], SOS-Attentats, May 27, 1996, available at http://www.sos-attentats.org/justice-liste-attentats.asp?lan_id=fr (accessed April 20, 2006). 

[499] Ordonnance, supra note 462 at 38.

[500] See generally Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury, Fatal Writ: An Account of Murders and Cover-ups (2000).

[501] See IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos supra note 18.

[502] Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance 203 (2002).

[503] Testimony Before the US Congress Human Rights Caucus, by Dr. Boroumand's Daughter, Ladan, available at http://impact.users.netlink.co.uk/namir/tstmny.htm (accessed March 2, 2008).

[504] Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Eric Avebury and Robert Wilkinson, Iran: State of Terror 25 (1993).

[505] Mykonos Judgement, Mykonos Urteil [Mykonos Judgment], Urteil des Kammergerichts Berlin vom 10. April 1997 [Judgement of the Court of Appeal of Berlin on April 10, 1997], OLGSt Berlin, (1) 2 StE 2/93 (19/93), at 368-370 available at http://www.kammergericht.de/entscheidungen/Strafsenate/1_StE_19-93.pdf (accessed June 22, 2007). 

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom