Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Iran’s ex-Foreign Minister hints at official role in terror abroad

Ali-Akbar Velayati, Iran’s former Foreign Minister and a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and a candidate in the forthcoming June 17 presidential elections, hinted at official responsibility for terrorist operations abroad against its opponents. Iran Focus reports:
"Relations with Europe, through much work and the use of diplomatic techniques over a long period, were such that it maintained our national honour and dignity, however with the chain of events, such as the murder of Bakhtiar, the Mykonos case, and the events in Austria and Belgium, these initiatives suffered a setback."

Shahpour Bakhtiar was murdered in Paris in August 1991, while in September 1992 four Iranian Kurdish opponents of the regime were killed in a Greek restaurant called Mykonos in Berlin. Abdolrahman Ghasemlou, head of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan was murdered in Vienna in 1989. Velayati's allusion to the Belgian "event" refers to the discovery of three huge 320-mm mortars inside an Iranian ship in the port of Antwerp in Belgium in 1996. Consequent investigations by Belgian police determined that the regime's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) was planning to use these mortars to attack the residence of Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), north of Paris.

Following a three-year review, a Berlin court announced in 1997 that a special committee, made up of Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Velayati, and Ali Fallahiyan (then Intelligence Minister), was directly responsible for the terrorist activities by the Iranian regime abroad and issued an international warrant for these individuals' arrest.

Velayati’s acknowledgement was greeting with alarm by Iran’s state-run media, with one news outlet stating that the admission would have dire consequences for the regime.