Iran TV Host Admits to Tehran's Attempts to Assassinate Regime Opponents Abroad
The Iranian state television admitted, for the first time, that the state carried out assassinations of opponents of the regime outside the country using its agents. This came up during the talk show that was attended by Anis al-Naqqash, known for training Imad Mughniyah, the former military commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Al Arabiya English reported on February 18, 2017.
In the talk show, which was broadcasted last Thursday by Iranian Television, al-Naqqash indicated that he was imprisoned in France. The Iranian broadcaster Vahid Yaminpour, who belongs to the fundamentalist movement and is known for his connections with the Iranian security forces, intervened at this point and explained the reasons behind the arrest. The broadcaster asserted: “A year after the Iranian revolution, al-Naqqash went to France on a mission to assassinate Shapour Bakhtiar, the Prime Minister under the Shah. The operation did not succeed and he was arrested and imprisoned for several years."
Al-Naqqash did not succeed in the assassination attempt on Iran’s former Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. (Archives)
Al-Naqqash was imprisoned for 10 years in France after the assassination attempt on former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar, and was released in 1990.
Al-Naqqash was born in Beirut in 1951, and then joined the ranks of the Fatah in 1968 where he served in a number of positions.
After the Iranian revolution, he became very close to the Iranian regime, and participated in the training of some of the leaders of the Lebanese Hezbollah. He played a role in the coordination between the leaders of the Palestinian groups and the Iranian regime.
Al-Naqqash did not succeed in the assassination attempt on the former Prime Minister but on August 6, 1991, Bakhtiar was assassinated at his Paris home, along with his private secretary, by three people. One of the neighbors was also killed and a policeman was slaughtered with a knife to camouflage the events. The death of Bakhtiar was discovered only after 36 hours.
Two of the killers escaped to Iran, while the third one, Ali Vakili Rad, was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to France, accompanied by Zainal Sarhada (a distant relative of then Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani). Ali Vakili Rad was tried and sentenced to life in prison in 1994.
France released him in 2009, when they exchanged him for Clotilde Reiss, a French teacher who was arrested in Tehran on charges of participating in the protests that raged on the streets of Iranian cities after the country’s elections the same year.
In 2014, The Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi confessed to "assassinations against opponents of the regime of the Islamic Republic abroad" within his ministry's activities outside the country, as he emphasized in a statement published by The Iranian Judiciary new agency: “The assassinations, included the leader of Jaysh al-Nasr Baluchi, Abdul Rauf Rigi, his nephew and other people in Pakistan.”