Condemned by Law: Assassination of Political Dissidents Abroad
The legal analysis presented in this report is based on the facts collected and collated in two previous IHRDC reports: No Safe Haven: Iran’s Global Assassination Campaign and Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination.
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:
• 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.
• 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.