Prior to Iran’s 1979 revolution, all political voices were silenced by the Shah, and society suffered extensively from political ignorance. Though the monarchy had traditionally enjoyed their support, when the Shah was toppled by a nationwide uprising, he was soon replaced by an undereducated, unqualified, and power-thirsty clerical gang.
Beginning in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, this gang was bent on cracking down on domestic opposition. Meanwhile, the new regime gradually learned to develop a strategy of hostage-taking and terrorism to achieve one goal: spreading warfare abroad to preserve an illegitimate rule at home.
The following study will show how this strategy has helped the clerical extremists in Tehran to pursue two vital aims: creating leverage on the international stage and eliminating domestic opposition.
The Western response has been deficient and has assisted the regime’s terror machine in executing its strategy. Either due to electoral reservations, economic interests, or strategic miscalculation, appeasement has only emboldened Tehran to continue the same extortion tactics for more than four decades.
The following overview highlights only a fraction of the instances of Iranian terrorism and hostage-taking. It does not include hundreds of terrorist operations against the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MEK/PMOI), or other dissident groups in Iraq or the numerous assassinations of dissidents that took place inside Iran.
Neither does it include most of the various terrorist plots that either failed, were thwarted, or resulted in no loss of life. Rather it is primarily focused on the assaults that have led to the death of the victim(s) and where the state in which the attack took place has failed to hold the perpetrators to account.
This overview only has one objective: to show the destructive effects of responding to Iranian terrorism with what has been called diplomacy with peace as its aim but has in fact led to more terrorism, instability, and destruction.
The following patterns are evident as a result of this review:
- Tehran has executed terror attacks or has plotted major terror operations in numerous countries across several continents, including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Albania, Romania, Cyprus, Lebanon, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Argentina.
- There is hardly any major European country wherein Iran has neither carried out a terrorist operation nor established a base for launching attacks in another European country.
- Iran has taken Westerners hostage to be used as bargaining chips or as a shield to prevent serious repercussions for its terrorist conduct. Targets include citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, and Canada, among other countries.
- It has been common practice for European governments to eventually release Iranian state terrorists under the pressure of Tehran’s terror campaign and hostage-taking. The cycle has never been broken.
- History shows that almost all hostage crises have ended with a ransom paid or a series of concessions made to Tehran. No government ever tried to prove the Iranian regime’s strategy futile and unlucrative.
- The Iranian Foreign Ministry has been either directly involved or has been a major facilitator of terror attacks, particularly in Europe. In many instances, the plot could not have been carried out without the direct involvement of the Foreign Ministry. Of course, the same entity has also acted as the official facilitator of hostage negotiations with foreign countries.
- Iranian officials have been involved in many terrorist incidents, and some have been arrested. But virtually all of them have been released in the face of intimidation and further hostage-taking by the regime. Some of these terrorists even were appointed to high positions in government and proceeded to travel the world with impunity as state officials.
- On many occasions, the Iranian regime has used non-Iranian and especially Arab proxy militants to attack foreign targets, thereby dodging legal responsibility and political repercussions.
- Despite having ample evidence of the Iranian regime’s active role in major terrorist attacks against US targets and interests, various administrations in Washington have frozen relevant initiatives to prevent a “diplomatic crisis” with Tehran.
- Bombings and other terror attacks that resulted in hundreds if not thousands of deaths and injuries among US personnel in the Middle East have never met with proper political or economic consequences, as Washington has repeatedly deemed the timing for firmness inappropriate.
- Although the regime’s terrorist activities first targeted the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MEK/PMOI), they eventually expanded to several continents, and thousands of non-Iranians, mostly Westerners, became victims of this terror machine. Tehran went so far as to attempt the bombing of a large gathering in Paris with hundreds of Western senior politicians, lawmakers, and human rights activists attending. This clearly demonstrated the regime’s expectation of impunity, and Belgium is on the verge of proving those expectations correct by signing an agreement resulting in the release of the plot’s mastermind.
- Though Western governments have refused to publicize concessions made to Tehran, some news reports have revealed what has emboldened the clerics to continue the four-decade practice. Some of these are referenced below.
In 2020, news broke that the CIA-owned Crypto AG, an apparent Swiss company has sold encryption devices to intelligence agencies in 120 different countries. Hence, all other states learned that the agency was tracking and surveilling the secret operations of the company’s global clientele. With the Iranian regime being one of Crypto AG’s most “faithful customers” until it was exposed, it is worth pondering to what extent the Western intelligence community had knowledge of MOIS operations, yet the western governments refused to take proper action.
As some politicians, analysts, and reporters today might be too young to recall some events covered in the study, the retrospective could be worthwhile as an indicator of things that might lay ahead. As the world of today is still plagued by evil states and various terror groups, it is imperative to get a good sense of Tehran’s nefarious hostage-taking policy and the need for a different approach.
Since there are still countries contemplating how and when to compromise with Tehran, their leaders should look back and understand that every cent paid and every concession made will be funding the next round of terror and hostage-taking, endangering their citizens’ lives throughout the world. This vicious cycle has been left intact for too long.
“We’ll take 1000 Americans hostage, then the United States will have to pay several billion dollars to get every single one free. That’s how we can solve our economic problems.”
Former IRGC Chief Mohsen Rezaei – July 13, 2015.
Tehran’s History of Terror and Hostage-taking
On November 4, 1979, extremist groups attacked the US embassy and took dozens of hostages, calling themselves ‘students who followed Ruhollah Khomeini,’ then the supreme leader of the new Iranian regime. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime pursued four goals:
- Silencing criticism by branding the democratic opposition, especially the MEK, as opponents of a revolutionary state at war with America
- Abolishing the bureaucratic and liberal interim government of Mehdi Bazargan as branding them as being in cahoots with the US,
- Using the turmoil to silently pass the new Velayat-e-Faqih law (the absolute rule of the supreme leader) which was intentionally not included in the Draft Constitution nor mentioned in the referendum on March 30, 1979
- Depicting itself as a new global pole of anti-Americanism
The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, the day President Carter’s term ended. Iranian officials insisted on payment in gold rather than U.S. dollars, so the U.S. government transferred 50 tons of gold to Iran. Even after the release of the hostages, the Iranian officials did not want the news released until the hostages were out of Iranian airspace. President Carter said the United States would comply.
July 18, 1980 – On July 18, 1980, Shapour Bakhtiar, the last Premier Minister under the Shah regime, escaped an assassination attempt executed by a group of three attackers in his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. A policeman and a neighbor were killed. The five-man assassination team with ties to Tehran led by Anis Naqash, a Lebanese, was captured. They were given life sentences, but the French government pardoned them in July 1990. They were sent to Tehran.
January 15, 1982 – Shahrokh Misaghi, a supporter of the Fadayian Guerrillas Organization who lived in the Philippines, was targeted and stabbed in the heart. Evidence pointed to the Iranian regime’s involvement.
January 15, 1982 – Dispatched terrorists of the Iranian regime in Manilla, the Philippines, threw a hand grenade into a crowd of students who were supporters of the MEK, injuring many of them.
April 24, 1982 – A group of clubmen tied to the Khomeini regime attacked the dormitory of MEK supporters in Mainz, Germany, with knives, sticks, and tear gas, during which a German woman was killed, and many were injured. One of the perpetrators responsible for this assault was Kazem Darabi, who was set free and killed several Kurdish dissidents during the Mykonos terror attack a few years later.
June 8, 1982 – Hunger striking students who supported the MEK in India were attacked by a gang of thugs who were affiliated with the Iranian regime with knives, clubs, and chain whips. During the attack, Shahram Mirani, one of the students was killed, and many others were injured and taken to the hospital.
June 8, 1982 – A group of thugs tied to the Iranian regime attacked a demonstration of MEK supporters in Madrid, Spain, where a female protester was stabbed and killed.
July 19, 1982 – Hezbollah members kidnapped David Dodge, acting president of the American University in Beirut. After a year in captivity, Dodge was released. Rifat Assad, head of Syrian Intelligence, helped in the negotiation with the terrorists. UPI reported, “University head believed kidnapped by pro-Iranians”. Dodge was the first American hostage taken by Tehran and according to another UPI report, “was held in Iran by Shiite Moslems hoping to exchange him for an Iranian diplomat abducted three weeks earlier.”
August 29, 1982 – Iranian regime’s undercover agents shot and killed Ahmad Zulanwar, a supporter of the MEK in a terrorist attack in Karachi, Pakistan. The assailants used a motorcycle and a machine gun. No perpetrator was identified.
September 10, 1982 – Terrorists armed with knives and machetes attacked a demonstration where the participants were protesting human rights abuses in Iran. Amir Rahdar, an MEK supporter, was murdered, and 20 others were seriously wounded.
February 8, 1983 – Esfandiar Rahimi Taganki, a supporter of the MEK in Manilla, the Philippines, was stabbed to death by the Iranian regime’s thugs.
March 16, 1983 – Five American Marines were wounded in a hand grenade attack while on patrol north of Beirut International Airport. The Islamic Jihad and Al-Amal, a Shi’ite militia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
April 18, 1983 – A bombing of the American embassy in Beirut with 2,000 pounds of explosives placed in a truck in front of a seven-story building killed 63 and injured 120. As the regime’s former president Rafsanjani, former IRGC commander in chief Mohsen Rezaei and IRGC deputy Minister Rafiqdust admitted later, the clerical regime was in charge of guiding and supporting this operation. The incident was also linked to Islamic Jihad. Five months following the second attack, the Lebanese government authority in West Beirut collapsed. In February 1984, U.S. officials announced the withdrawal of the U.S. troops, which was followed shortly thereafter by the pullout of Italian, British, and French troops.
Early on a Sunday morning, October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF), a military peacekeeping operation during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 307 people: 241 U.S. and 58 French military personnel, six civilians, and two attackers. Lebanese Hezbollah, with support and direction from Iran, was identified as responsible for the suicide attacks.
Eventually, it became evident that the U.S. would launch no serious and immediate retaliatory attack for the Beirut Marine barracks bombing beyond naval barrages and air strikes used to interdict continuous harassing fire from Druze and Syrian missile and artillery sites. A true retaliatory strike failed to materialize because there was disagreement in the US White House (largely between George P. Shultz of the Department of State and Weinberger of the Department of Defense) and because “the extant evidence pointing at Iranian involvement was circumstantial” at that time: the Islamic Jihad, which took credit for the attack, was a front for Hezbollah which was acting as a proxy for Iran; thus, affording Iran plausible deniability. Several victims, e.g. Evan Fain and Emma Jean Anderson, did sue the Iranian regime and in 2003, a federal judge in Washington ruled that Iran was behind the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut but the US government failed to undertake any serious action.
An American court announced that the families of the victims can get compensation from Iran for the damage they suffered in this terror attack. On May 5, 1989, the regime’s then-president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran: “If 5 Americans or French people get killed for every Palestinian who gets martyred by Israeli mercenaries, they would not commit such crimes… they saw an example in Lebanon.”
December 12, 1983 – Hezbollah and operatives of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite group Da’wa (lead by former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki) carried out a series of seven coordinated bombings in Kuwait, including the US embassy, killing six people and wounding nearly ninety more. In the aftermath of the bombings, seventeen convicted terrorists were jailed in Kuwait — the Kuwait 17 as they came to be called — including several Hezbollah members. One of those convicted — and sentenced to death — was Mustapha Badreddine, Imad Mughniyeh’s brother-in-law and cousin, who was in Kuwait under the Christian-sounding cover name Fuad Saab. When a Kuwaiti court sentenced Badreddine to death in March 1984, Hezbollah threatened to kill some of its hostages if the sentence were carried out. Kuwait failed to carry out the sentences and the men escaped back to Iran and Lebanon.
1. For the first time, the Iraqi Shia militias claim responsibility for the Dec. 1983 attack on @USEmbassyQ8 at Tehran’s behest. Abu Ali al-Basri, PMF deputy chief of staff, identifies Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the slain ex-PMF chief of staff as the “mastermind” of the bombing. pic.twitter.com/IxAGMsGXQU
— Hamdi Malik, Ph.D. (@HamdiAMalik) January 9, 2021
January 18, 1984 – Malcolm Kerr, a Lebanese-born American who was president of the American University of Beirut, was killed by two gunmen outside his office. Hezbollah said the assassination was part of the organization’s plan to “drive all Americans out from Lebanon.”
February 10, 1984 – Frank Regier, 63, chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department at the American University of Beirut was kidnapped by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Less was made public about how the Americans negotiated with the Iranian regime about his release but nevertheless, even though Tehran-backed Amal militiamen claimed they ‘rescued’ Regier on April 15, 1984, he sued the Iranian regime when he got back home.
March 7, 1984 – Hezbollah members kidnapped Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief of Cable News Network (CNN). Levin managed to escape and reach the Syrian army barracks. Less is known about the way he managed to leave pro-Tehran Syria under Hafez al-Assad but it is reported that he eventually was transferred to American hands. He sued the Iranian regime once he got back home safely.
March 8, 1984 – Three Hezbollah members kidnapped Reverend Benjamin T. Weir, while he was walking with his wife in Beirut’s Manara neighborhood. Weir was reportedly released after 16 months of captivity with Syrian and Iranian assistance. He officially blamed and sued the Iranian regime for his suffering. Weir later criticized the Iran-contra deal with the clerical regime.
March 16, 1984 – A political official at the American Embassy in Beirut, William Buckley, was abducted and secretly transported to Tehran by an Iran Air plane. A year later, in 1985, he was killed under torture. The perpetrators of this kidnapping and assassination were the top officials of the mullahs’ regime in Lebanon. Three weeks after Buckley’s disappearance, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Security Decision Directive 138. This directive was drafted by National Security Council staffer Oliver North and outlined plans on how to get the American hostages released from Lebanon and to “neutralize” terrorist threats from countries such as Nicaragua. This marked the beginning of the Iran-Contra scandal, about exchanging American hostages for arms. On 30th August 1985, Israel shipped 100 TOW missiles to Iran. On 14th September, Iran received another 408 missiles from Israel.
April 12, 1984 – A bombing in a restaurant near the US Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain, killed 18 American servicemen and wounded 83 others.
July 1984 – Three masked gunmen hijacked an Air France Airbus and forced it to fly to Tehran. They threatened that they will kill all people onboard if France would fail to release Anis Naqash and his accomplices. Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas wrote in his memoir that he contacted his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Velayati to discuss the hostage crisis and the regime’s then-FM went straight to the point by asking for the release of Naqash, the expulsion of Iranian dissidents in France, an end to the French arms deals with Iraq and paying 1 billion dollars as compensation over a legal dispute over Eurodif. Following the Velayati-Dumas negotiations, the passengers and crew left the plane while the hijackers were escorted away by the regime’s security forces.
September 20, 1984 – Hezbollah carried out a suicide car bombing targeting the U.S. embassy annex in East Beirut, Lebanon. The attack killed 24 people.
December 4, 1984 – Hezbollah terrorists hijacked a Kuwait Airlines plane en route from Dubai, United Emirates, to Karachi, Pakistan. They demanded the release of members of al-Da’Wa, a group of Shiite extremists serving sentences for attacks on French and American targets on Kuwaiti territory. The terrorists forced the pilot to fly to Tehran where the terrorists murdered two American passengers, Charles Hegna and William Stanford. The Iranian regime claimed its special units ended the incident by storming the plane and arresting the terrorists, but Western agencies knew Tehran was involved in the hijacking.
Covering the story, the Washington Post wrote, “the hijacking ended when the airliner was taken by Iranian security police in what U.S. officials called a faked storming of the plane. The hijackers were taken off in a limousine, sources said, and the two murder victims turned out to be U.S. officials. The UPI reported: “The White House joined in the criticism Tuesday and said Iran ‘clearly encouraged extreme behavior’ by hijackers who murdered two Americans and warned the Khomeini government it must bring the sky pirates to justice.” Less is known about any punitive action against Tehran.
January 8, 1985- The Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, a Catholic priest, was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militias in Lebanon, where he was director of Catholic Relief Services.
January 24, 1985 – Two MEK supporters named Abdul Reza Salimi and Rasul Khalvati were abducted in Dubai by the regime’s terrorists. The kidnappers tortured them in a safe house to extract information on MEK’s network inside the UAE.
March 1985 – Shiite militants kidnapped three French citizens in Lebanon. According to the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas Dumas’ memoir, the regime’s then-parliament speaker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told the French consul that Tehran has no connection to the kidnappers but might want to influence them. To prove his words worthwhile, he promised that the female hostage be released. One week later, she was released and went home.
March 16, 1985- Terry A. Anderson, the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militants in Beirut.
March 25, 1985 – Peter Kilburn, chief librarian of the American University of Beirut was abducted by gunmen with links to the Iranian regime. On April 17, 1986, Kilburn was found murdered along with Philip Padfield, 40, the director of an English-language institute, and Leigh Douglas, 34, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut.
May 1985- Michel Seurat, a researcher at the French Center for Studies and Research of the Contemporary Middle East, and Jean-Paul Kauffmann, a journalist working for the French weekly l’Evenement du Jeudi, were kidnapped by gunmen in May 1985 while traveling from the airport to Moslem West Beirut. According to the New York Times (NYT), “Islamic Holy War, said in a statement sent to Western news agencies here that it had killed the hostage, Michel Seurat because he had provided the French Government with reports about the Middle East in general and Islamic movements in particular. The organization added that Mr. Seurat had been killed to protest what was termed French support for Iraq in the war with Iran.”
May 27, 1985 – Dennis Hill, an English language teacher with the American University of Beirut, was found shot dead two days after he disappeared in west Beirut.
May 28, 1985 – David Jacobsen, the administrator of American University Hospital in Beirut, was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militants. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Jacobsen said “he feels anger and bitterness toward Iran, the nation that he said has been behind all of the kidnappings in the Middle East.”
June 9, 1985 – Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militants. Covering his release, the Washington Post wrote: “Sutherland and Waite are the fifth and sixth hostages to be released since August in a complex, three-way negotiation brokered by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and involving Israel, Iran, and pro-Iranian Muslim fundamentalist Lebanese groups.”
June 14, 1985- Two Hezbollah members hijacked a TWA flight en route to Rome from Athens and forced the pilot to fly to Beirut. The terrorists asked for the release of members of the group Kuwait 17 and 700 Shi’ite prisoners held in Israeli and South Lebanese prisons. The eight crewmembers and 145 passengers were held for 17 days during which one of the hostages, Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy sailor, was murdered.
The Greek government released the accomplice, Ali Atwa, and in exchange the hijackers released eight Greek citizens, including Greek pop singer Demis Roussos, to be flown by a Greek government business jet from Algiers back to Athens. Over the next several weeks, Israel released over 700 Shia prisoners, while maintaining that the prisoners’ release was not related to the hijacking.
Despite the U.S. seeking the extradition of the arrested perpetrators, Germany decided to prosecute Mohammed Ali Hamadei in Germany and, on May 17, 1989, convicted him of murder, hostage taking, assault, and hijacking. Hamadei was sentenced to life in prison. On December 15, 2005, however, he was released from custody and returned to Beirut, Lebanon.
July 24, 1985 – A gunman shot and killed the first secretary of the Jordanian Embassy Ziad J. al-Sati as he drove to work. According to AP, Turkish security services identified the suspects as Adnan Moussa Suleyman Ameri, an interpreter at the Jordanian Embassy, and Ali Kent, a Turk of Iranian descent. Reuters reported that according to a high-ranking Turkish official, an employee of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Ankara left Turkey after the court prosecutor announced his name in connection with the murder of a Jordanian diplomat.
August 30, 1985 – The first planeload of U.S.-made weapons was sent from Israel to Tehran, with Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi providing ″bridge″ financing for the deal, involving 100 TOW missiles. McFarlane stated that US President Reagan gave oral approval prior to the shipment and agreed to sell replacement weapons to Israel.
September 15, 1985 – American hostage Rev. Benjamin Weir was released, but the word of his freedom was withheld for four days in hopes other hostages be released. Regarding Weir’s release, NYT wrote: “Neither Mr. Djerejian nor other Government officials would disclose how the release of Mr. Weir had been obtained, with whom the United States had negotiated, the method by which he had traveled from Beirut to Norfolk, or why Norfolk had been chosen as the meeting place with his family. The White House spokesman said the United States had been in touch with several governments, including Syria’s, which has considerable influence in Lebanon. He also said that Mr. Weir ”was released to U.S. Government authorities in Beirut” and that ”we did assist in his return.”
October 3, 1985 – The terrorist group Islamic Jihad said it had killed a US embassy official in Beirut, William Buckley.
November 1985 – Following an explosion in Paris that injured 41 people, Paris expressed willingness to come to terms with Tehran about the release of Anis Naqash and his accomplices as well as the Eurodif dispute. From February 3 until March 8, 1986, five French citizens were abducted in Lebanon. Consequently, one French hostage died in confinement and three other bombs blew off in Paris. French President Mitterrand dispatched special envoy Eric Rouleau to Tehran.
November 9, 1985 – Washington Post wrote: “Four American hostages in Lebanon, saying their captors are “growing impatient,” appealed to President Reagan today to abandon “quiet diplomacy” and negotiate with their kidnappers for their freedom… Islamic Jihad, a shadowy Shiite fundamentalist group that has claimed responsibility for abducting the Americans as well as other westerners, has demanded the release of 17 Arabs held in Kuwait following the December 1983 bombings of American, French, and Kuwaiti installations there as a condition for freeing the hostages.”
After a period of 18 months of imprisonment, Jenco was freed on July 26, 1986, after months of negotiations involving the Reagan Administration, Shiite radicals, and the Anglican envoy Terry Waite, who was himself later held hostage in Beirut for four and a half years.
January 31, 1986 – Do Chae-Sung, 33, second secretary at the South Korean embassy, was kidnapped in west Beirut by Tehran-backed militants. Covering his release, AP reported: “A South Korean diplomat has been freed from captivity in Lebanon after his kidnappers were paid $1 million in ransom, a senior Shiite Moslem militia leader disclosed today.”
March 1986 – Manucher Ghorbanifar, on behalf of the Iranian regime, demanded ever-increasing amounts of weapons as the price of helping free hostages, and Oliver North kept the United States in the deal. A CIA official said, ″the real thing that was driving this was that there was in early ’86, late ’85, a lot of pressure from the hostage families to meet with the president, and there were articles in the magazines about the forgotten hostages.″
March 8, 1986 – Jean-Louis Normandin, Aurel Cornea, Philippe Rochot, and Georges Hansen, members of the French Antenna 2 television crew were abducted in Beirut.
March 16, 1986 – The parliamentary elections in France changed the political landscape in Paris. The next day, a bomb exploded in a train traveling between Paris-Lion and another bomb in Paris killed 2 people and wounded 29 others three days later. Five massive explosions rocked the French capital between September 8-17, 1986 and the death toll rose to 13 and the wounded to 300. In all incidents, the Committee of Solidarity with Arab and Middle Eastern Political Prisoners claimed responsibility. The unknown group demanded the release of Naqash and a few others.
April 1986 – In a videotape released, Alec Collett, a British employee for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was shown being hanged by his kidnappers. According to an AP report on April 24, 1986, “The Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Moslems, believed linked to renegade Palestinian leader Abu Nidal (a Tehran-linked group), provided the four-minute tape to the independent Beirut newspaper An-Nahar.”
May 12, 1986-- US President Reagan was briefed by then-US National Security Advisor John Poindexter on plans for a trip to Iran by McFarlane. Oliver North’s plans included a note that the ″concept″ is to provide ″incentives″ for Iran to intervene on behalf of hostage release. Pres. Reagan approved the trip three days later.
July 1, 1986 – Unknown terrorists bombed the shop of Reza Fazeli, an Iranian refugee and a former Iranian film actor in London, and killed his son, Bijan. On July 20, 1987, AP reported that “no one has been arrested in that attack.”
July 30, 1986 – US Pres. Reagan gave the go-ahead for the shipment of HAWK spare parts to Iran. On Aug. 3, twelve pallets of parts were delivered, with logistical assistance from Israel. Manuchehr Ghorbanifar, the arms dealer, became excluded from the dealing and complained that money from the deals was being diverted.
August 28, 1986 – A large number of explosives, plastic bombs, and weapons were discovered in the luggage of Iranian “pilgrims” arriving in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Saudi police arrested 100 people who came from Iran.
September 1986 – Amid a wave of bombings in public places in Paris, Fouad Ali Saleh was suspected and later convicted of killing 12 and injuring hundreds. He was arrested in March 1987 while transferring explosives into a car in Paris. Another suspect, Lotfi Ben-Khala was caught and on January 30, 1990, French Television Channel 1 broadcasted an interview with Ben-Khala, where he stated that the Iranian rulers planned a terrorist attack on a French nuclear facility that would have resulted in 10,000 deaths. Both confessed to having been briefed and instructed by the highest officials from Tehran and Qom.
September 5, 1986 – Abu Nidal members hijacked a Boeing 747-121 leaving Karachi, Pakistan bound for Frankfurt, Germany, and New York with 379 passengers, including 89 Americans. The terrorists forced the plane to land in Larnaca, Cyprus, where they demanded the release of two Palestinians and a Briton jailed for the murder of three Israelis in 1985. The terrorists killed 22 of the passengers, including two American citizens, and wounded many others. The West knew that Abu Nidal was backed by Tehran.
September 6, 1986 – Tehran-backed terrorists attacked a Jewish synagogue (Neve Shalom) in Istanbul. Before the operation, the IRGC Minister Mohsen Rafiqdoust, along with his deputy, Qadiri, had come to Istanbul. NYT wrote that “the Turkish intelligence agency believed Iran played the dominant role”.
September 9, 1986 – Hezbollah kidnapped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut, whom they accused of being “a CIA agent.” Covering his release, the New York Times wrote: “The Iranian representative at the United Nations, Kamal Kharazi, said today that the United States could show its gratitude to Iran for securing the release of Mr. Polhill and Mr. Reed by encouraging Israel to free several hundred Arab prisoners. He made the comment on the ABC News program ”This Week.”
September 12, 1986 – Hezbollah kidnapped Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. Coving his release, the NYT reported how Mr. Cicippio thanked the governments of Syria and Iran for his release and that Israel had freed 25 militants to get him back to the US. Cicippio sued Tehran for his suffering when he got back to the States.
September 18, 1986 – The French military attaché in Lebanon, Col. Christian Goutierre was shot dead. Four days later, on September 22, Ali Akbar Velayati contacted his French counterpart, Jean-Bernard Raimond, and forced Paris into concessions and new negotiations.
October 5, 1986– US Official Oliver North flew to Frankfurt, West Germany, for a meeting with the second Iranian channel, which says he can obtain the release of one hostage in return for 500 TOWs.
October 21, 1986 – Edward Tracy, a book salesman, was kidnapped in Beirut by Islamic fundamentalists allied with Tehran. Covering his release, the Los Angeles Times wrote how “the pro-Iranian Revolutionary Justice Organization” had set the terms.
“In light of the speedy developments and positive, encouraging atmosphere regarding ongoing negotiations to resolve the issue of our brothers detained in the prisons of the world headed by Sheik Abdel Karim Obeid,” the kidnapers’ message said. “To avoid delaying the release operation, they should be on time.”
November 1986 – France paid the first installment of the money Iran claimed France owed it from investments made prior to the 1979 revolution to the Iranian regime in the amount of 330 million dollars. Consequently, on December 24, 1986, a French hostage was released. The New York Times reported: “The captors, a pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem group known as the Revolutionary Justice Organization, said the decision to release Aurel Cornea, a French television soundman, was a Christmas gesture in response to mediation by Iran, Syria, and Algeria.”
November 4, 1986 – According to UPI, the United States negotiated secretly with Iran to secure the release of American hostage David Jacobsen in a deal allowing shipments of military equipment to Iran, the Times of London reported.
November 4, 1986 – A pro-Syrian news magazine in Beirut, Al-Shira’a, broke the news that McFarlane had flown to Iran to meet and negotiate with officials there.
November 11, 1986 – Two more French hostages in Lebanon – Camille Sontag, 85, and Marcel Coudari, 56 – were released. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The kidnappers, in a communique, said they would release the hostages “as a result of the promises given by the French government on the demands that it very well knows.”
November 17, 1986 – George Besse, CEO of Renault, was shot dead in front of his house by allegedly a left-wing group. Though French intelligence agencies learned that Tehran had ordered the assassination of Besse’s tough stance on withholding uranium delivery to Iran.
November 19, 1986 – US President Ronald Reagan conducted the ‘Iran Arms and Contra Aid Controversy’ speech.
November 25, 1986 – U.S President Ronald Reagan partially admitted to the Iran-Contra Scandal, and accordingly National Security Advisor Admiral John Marlan Poindexter and staff of the National Security Council Oliver North resigned for violating the Boland Amendment. On July 5, 1989, a US federal judge sentenced Oliver North for attempting to cover up the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages scandal when he was part of the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan.
December 12, 1986 – Regarding the France-related kidnappings, the Associated Press (AP) reported: “France won the release of two French hostages in Beirut after making political concessions to Iran and paying the kidnappers the equivalent of $2.3 million… The French then made two gestures, expelling Iranian opposition leader Massoud Rajavi from France and inviting Iranian Vice Premier Ali Reza Moayeri to France. Two weeks later, Rochot and Hansen were released. According to Liberation, the kidnapper’s ‘price’ of 15 million francs ($2.3 million) was filtered through two arms dealers identified as Nicolas Ignatiev in Paris and another named Al Kassar, in Marbella, Spain, who it said was close to the brother of Syrian President Hafez Assad. The money was paid into an Arab bank in Switzerland and laundered. ‘In the following days, most observers concluded that the release of the two hostages had been obtained uniquely in exchange for the two ‘political’ gestures in favor of Iran – the expulsion of Rajavi and the ‘normalization’ of relations between Paris and Tehran’…”
December 14, 1986 – The Washington Post published a comprehensive report, laying down the extensive negotiations and arms deals between the United States, Israel, and the Iranian regime. The report clearly showed how desperate the Reagan administration in general and his National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, in particular, have tried to persuade Tehran to release the hostages, while the regime kept throwing wrenches and changing terms.
January 9, 1987 – The White House released a memorandum prepared for US President Reagan in 1986 that drew an unmistakable link between shipments of U.S. arms to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
January 4, 1987 – A Boeing plane, the Iraqi Airways flight 163, flying to Frankfurt was hijacked by Tehran-backed gunmen. Following a conflict between the plane’s security service and a terrorist, a hand grenade exploded, damaging the plane’s rear part and killing 62 of the 107 people aboard. According to AP, “the Bahrain-based Gulf News Agency quoted an Iraqi official as saying in Baghdad that the hijackers were ″agents of the Iranian regime″ traveling on Lebanese passports”. An MEK member, Reza Baradaran, was among the victims of this terror incident.
January 17-20, 1987 – Two German citizens, businessman Rudolf Cordes, 53, and engineer Alfred Schmidt, 47, were kidnapped. AP quoted the Lebanese An-Nahar newspaper: The kidnappers of two West Germans held in Lebanon since last January reportedly demanded a ransom approaching $17 million to free the captives.” The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reported: “Despite official denials, reports persist in the region that ransoms of over $1 million each were paid for the release of Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Do.” (South Korean diplomat Do Chae Sung)
January 17, 1987 – Rudolph Cordes and Alfred Schmidt, two citizens of West Germany, were abducted by militias loyal to the Iranian regime shortly after the West German government arrested Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a Shia terrorist leader who allegedly masterminded the 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking and killed diver Robert Dean Stethem. According to the LA Times, Hamadi was freed after three months of secret negotiations between German and Iranian officials but UPI disclosed the $2 million ransom on November 6, 1987.
January 24, 1987 – Robert Polhill, 57, a business professor at Beirut University College, was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militants. Regarding his release, the Washington Post wrote: “Iranian-backed Shiite extremists, in a “goodwill initiative” apparently intended to improve relations between Iran and the United States, freed American educator Robert Polhill today after 39 months of captivity in Lebanon.”
January 24, 1987 – Jonathan Turner, 44, a visiting professor of mathematics and computer science at Beirut University College, was kidnapped from the campus as his wife watched. His abductors were disguised as members of Lebanon’s Internal Security Force.
March 4, 1987 – US President Reagan conducted an address to the American people regarding the Tower Commission Report from the Oval Office and admitted to the arms deals with the Iranian regime that has taken place in exchange for the release of American hostages.
March 21, 1987 – Colonel Heydari, an Iranian refugee in Turkey, was assassinated by the terrorists of the clerical regime along with his family.
April 17, 1986 – British television newsman John McCarthy who was en route to the Beirut airport for a flight to England was seized by pro-Tehran fundamentalist groups in Lebanon. According to the LA Times, “McCarthy’s release underscored reports about some broad agreement to the hostage crisis was under negotiation--a deal that could see the release of about 400 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners from an Israeli detention camp in southern Lebanon.”
May 19, 1987 – Hamid Reza Chitgar, the first secretary of the Iranian Kurdistan Workers’ Party was killed by the terrorists of the Iranian regime in his apartment in Vienna. His body was discovered by police on Jul. 12, 1987.
June 13, 1987 – The Associated Press (AP) reported: “Ash-Shiraa magazine reported last week that the special committee believed that ″a settlement to the hostages″ issue can be achieved only if the United States delivered to Iran weapons that had been purchased and paid for by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi… The magazine also reported Iran was demanding that Washington release Iranian assets frozen in American banks. The United States has already paid Iran $451 million of an estimated $3.6 billion in frozen assets, as ordered by a U.S.-Iranian tribunal in the Netherlands. The transfer of the funds was completed last month.”
June 17, 1987 – Charles Glass, 40, was on leave from ABC to research a book when he was seized. The Canadian MacLeans wrote: “Glass became the 25th Western hostage in Lebanon on June 17, when gunmen seized him in a southern district of Beirut. A group calling itself the Organization for Defending the Free People—believed to be supported by Iran—later claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.”
July 24, 1987 – A DC-10 plane belonging to Air Afrique was hijacked by terrorists of the mullahs’ regime. During the hijacking of the plane, a French passenger was killed at Vienna airport. The then-President of Switzerland blamed Tehran for the terror assault.
July 25, 1987 – Mohammad Hassan Mansouri, a former Major of Iran’s Air Force was assassinated in Turkey. According to the Washington Post “unknown gunmen surprised the three men in the villa, spraying them with machinegun fire”. The former Fantom pilot had joined the NCRI in exile.
July 8, 1987 – About 120 of the regime’s terrorists attacked 13 homes belonging to MEK members in Quetta and Karaji in Pakistan during a pre-organized raid. During the terrorist operation, three MEK members (among them Ali Reza Pourshafizadeh, and Faramarz-Agha) and two Pakistani civilians were killed and 15 were injured.
August 1, 1987 – In his speech prior to the Hajj pilgrimage, the Iranian regime’s former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini said: “By exporting our revolution, we will put an end to the domination and oppression of those who seek to dominate the world.”
On the same day, the Iranian regime’s agents staged a riot in Mecca during the Moslem annual Hajj pilgrimage as part of a wider plan to destabilize Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government said 402 persons were killed and 650 were wounded. 85 Saudi policemen were among the dead.
August 1, 1987 – The embassies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Tehran were stormed by state-organized mobs and a diplomat was killed.
September 10, 1987 – Ahmad Talebi, a former fighter pilot and a refugee was assassinated in front of his own wife and children on the street in Geneva, Switzerland, by two armed men who were later involved in the murder of Dr. Kazem Rajavi.
October 3, 1987 – Mohammed Ali Tavakoli (58) and his son, Noureddin Navir (24) were found dead in the family’s public housing apartment, victims of what police said was “an attack by agents of the Tehran government”.
October 11, 1987 – Abolhassan Mojtahedzadeh and Mostafa Abrari, two MEK members were kidnapped in Istanbul by Iranian embassy personnel. Abrari escaped his captors. The police discovered Mojtahedzadeh in the trunk of an Iranian embassy car with diplomatic plates near the Iran-Turkey border. Mojtahedzadeh revealed that he was interrogated and tortured by members of the Iranian embassy in Turkey including then-ambassador Manouchehr Mottaki who later served as foreign minister from 2005 to 2010 and traveled freely around the world.
December 1987 – Javad Ha’eri, an Iranian dissident was stabbed to death by two men at this home in Istanbul.
December 5, 1987 – United Press International reported: “France paid a $1.5 million ransom for each of two French hostages released in Moslem west Beirut last week and promised to halt arms shipments to Iraq, a pro-Syrian magazine reported. Ash Shiraa, the magazine which first reported the U.S.-Iran arms-for-hostages deal also quoted ‘well-informed sources’ as saying that the issue of all foreign hostages in Lebanon will be settled within ‘six months.’ A day after the double release, France ended its siege around the Iranian embassy in Paris and allowed Wahid Gordji, an Iranian translator demanded by French police for questioning over bombings in Paris last year, to go home… ‘The swap of Wahid Gordji and Paul Torri and France’s repayment of… part of a one-billion-dollar loan, were only the visible results of the release of Roger Auque and Jean-Louis Normandin,’ the magazine said.
February 17, 1988 – William R. Higgins, a United States Marine Corps colonel who was serving on a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission was kidnapped by Tehran-backed militants and later hanged in retaliation for Israel’s kidnapping of a Shiite Moslem leader in Lebanon.
April 5, 1988 – A Kuwaiti 747 jumbo jet was hijacked in Bangkok and landed in Mashhad, eastern Iran. The hijacking was carried out by several Lebanese guerillas who demanded the release of 17 prisoners being held by Kuwait for their role in the 1983 Kuwait bombings. One of the terrorists who was of Lebanese origin boarded the plane in Iran and led the terrorist operation. During the 15-day ordeal, two passengers were killed by hijackers.
May 4, 1988 – Four days before the second round of the French presidential elections, the remaining French hostages, Marcel Fontaine, Marcel Carton, and Jean-Paul Kauffman, were also released. At the same time, the media announced the payment of the second installment of France’s settlement to Iran over the Eurodif case.
December 3, 1988 – Iranian refugees who were waiting outside the UNHCR office in Karachi, Pakistan were attacked by mobsters. One person was killed, 5 wounded.
December 22, 1988 – Pan Am flight 103 exploded in mid-air over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Washington Post reported that a Central Intelligence Agency assessment of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing concluded that Iran hired a Damascus-based radical Palestinian faction to carry out the operation. Some commentators even suggested the imprisoned Megrahi was innocent and suspicion fell on a gang headed by a convicted Palestinian terrorist named Abu Talb and a Jordanian triple agent named Marwan Abdel Razzaq Khreesat. Both were Iranian agents. According to the Independent, “Evidence used to convict Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was faked and police may have been misled by a member of the US secret services, the investigators allege.”
February 1, 1989 – Extremists armed with knives and clubs attacked a meeting of MEK supporters in Rome, Italy. Three people were wounded.
February 14, 1989 – Khomeini issued a religious decree to kill Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born British author for writing the Satanic Verses.
May 16, 1989 – Heinrich Struebig and Thomas Kemptner who were working for the German humanitarian group ASME- Humanitas at Palestinian refugee camps, were kidnapped. The Germans’ captors wanted to exchange them for the Hamadi brothers, who are jailed in Germany on terrorism convictions. In Bonn, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said the credit of several hundred million marks to Iran “played no role” in the release.
July 9, 1989- Two bombs exploded in Mecca, killing one pilgrim, and wounding 16 others. Saudi authorities blame Iranian-inspired terrorists and later beheaded 16 Kuwaiti Shiite Muslims for the bombings.
July 13, 1989 – Abdol Rahman Qassemlou, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, Abdullah Qaderi-Azar, Fadel Mala, and Mahmoud Rassoul, his aides were shot dead in a Vienna apartment while holding talks with the Iranian regime’s envoys who were allowed to return to Iran shortly after the crime. Austrian prosecutors issued arrest warrants for three of the envoys but no one has ever been prosecuted for the crime. The main suspect, in this case, Mohammad Jafari Sahraroudi, even became a diplomat and toured around Europe and the Middle East as a diplomat, leading talks with Western and regional officials.
August 24, 1989 – Bahman Javadi (33) and Youssef Rashidzadeh (40), two members of the Komeleh Party, a Kurdish ethnic group, were attacked in Cyprus. According to AP, a police statement said Bahman Javadi, an Iranian with a Swedish passport, died in the hospital a few hours after he was shot in the head in the southern Cypriot coastal resort of Larnaca. The Kurdish Communist Party of Iran said in a statement that Javadi, ″known as Gholam Keshavarz, who went to Larnaca to meet his mother, has been shot dead there by the agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.″ Reporting Javadi’s assassination among others, the Washington Post concluded on September 9, 1989: “These killings — each apparently involving careful planning, specialized weapons, and intelligence techniques — have prompted some Western experts to speculate that the death June 3 of Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, unleashed an aggressive program of foreign assassinations as a means of keeping foreign-based opposition groups off balance and preventing their interference with the delicate transition from Khomeini’s rule.” The victim’s family called on the Swedish government to investigate the case but to no avail.
September 14, 1989 – Hossein Keshavarz, a MEK supporter in Karachi, Pakistan, was targeted by a hail of machinegun fire that gravely wounded him, leaving him paralyzed in both legs.
December 23, 1989 – Mehrdad Kowkabi, an Iranian, was charged with attempted arson of a London bookshop and planning a bomb attack in connection with Salman Rushdie. Kowkabi was later exchanged with a British national who was captured in Iran and charged with espionage on December 7, 1985.
January 31, 1990- Prof. Muammer Aksoy, the head of the Turkish Jurists’ Association was shot by terrorists affiliated with the regime’s network in Turkey. A so-called Iranian “diplomat” named Ahmad Aqiqi from the MOIS came to Turkey 20 days before the murder of Prof. Aksoy and met with various extremists. According to Turkish agencies, “Aqiqi” was also involved in the assassination attempt against NCRI FAC member Hossein Abedini. According to Medyanews, major newspapers and television channels received phone calls from members of various Islamic terrorist groups, who claimed responsibility for each murder. The police investigation led to arrests made in different avenues, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Iranian secret service officials. In the end, two Islamist militants were sentenced to prison and the cases were closed.
April 24, 1990 – Prof. Kazem Rajavi, NCRI representative in Switzerland and the elder brother of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, was assassinated in his car in Coppet, near Geneva. Swiss police issued warrants for at least 13 terrorists with Iranian service passports. In November 1992, two of the suspects, Mohsen Sharif Esfahani and Ahmad Taheri, were arrested in France. In February 1993, the high court in Paris ruled that the two men should be extradited to Switzerland. The government in France, however, secretly deported the two suspects back to Iran.
A report published in Tribune de Geneve on August 8, 1997, disclosed that the Iranian regime’s spies in the Swiss police force had been involved in the assassination of Professor Rajavi. The report said in part: “A Geneva policewoman and her Iranian husband were arrested on June 30 on the charge of espionage by the order of the confederation prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, but they were released three days later.”
Three and a half years after the assassination of Prof. Kazem Rajavi, the French police arrested Mahmoud Sajjadian and Ali Kamali, who were wanted in Switzerland for their involvement in the murder. They were arrested after entering France under fake identities. On February 10, 1993, the French judicial system ordered the extradition of these two assassins to Switzerland for them to be tried on charges of murder. But the French government unexpectedly sent them to Tehran on December 29, 1993, citing National security concerns.
The Washington Post wrote: “In Paris, a People’s Mujaheddin spokesman said the French decision would encourage the Iranian government in its attempts to liquidate its opponents abroad. “This not only goes against justice but against all logic and experience that exists in France regarding the Iranian regime,” said spokesman Behzad Naziri. “From the moment you are no longer firm in your policy, the reaction of the mullahs can only be to accentuate terrorism and blackmail. Concessions will only lead to further concessions.”
March 14, 1990 – Gunmen in Turkey attacked the car of Hossein Mir-Abedini, an MEK member, as he was on his way to Istanbul Airport. He was shot in the abdomen but survived. The gunmen later attempted to assassinate him while he was in a coma in the hospital.
July 15, 1990 – Ali Kashefpour, a member of the central committee of the KDPI, was killed in Turkey. He had apparently been kidnapped and severely tortured. The case remains unsolved.
September 6, 1990 – Effat Qazi, daughter of Gazi Mohammed, the Kurdish leader and president of the Mahabad Republic was killed in Sweden. A letter bomb intended for her husband, Amir Qazi, a Kurdish activist, went off and killed her instead.
March 29, 1991 – UPI reported: “Lebanese Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz said negotiations for the release of 12 Westerners held hostage by pro-Iranian fundamentalist groups are in the final stage with the captors ‘trying to get the best price for their release.”
April 18, 1991 – Abdolrahman Boroumand was stabbed to death in a street in Paris. He was a member of the executive committee of the National Resistance Movement of Iran that Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar (1915-1991) had founded in France. The crime remains unsolved.
July 12, 1991 – Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” was found stabbed to death at his university office.
August 6, 1991 – Shahpour Bakhtiar, the former Iranian prime minister’s throat was slit, and Soroush Katebeh, his personal secretary was stabbed to death at Bakhtiar’s home near Paris. The killers used fake Turkish passports and the help of a Bakhtiar confidant to enter the home. A suspected Iranian agent Ali Vakili Rad was convicted of the crime in France and sentenced to life in prison but was released in 2009 in exchange for a French hostage. Vakili Rad was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to Iran. On May 18, 2010, the Guardian wrote: “Ali Vakili Rad, who was jailed for life in 1994 for the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar, was released two days after the liberation of Clotilde Reiss, a French teaching assistant accused of spying by the Iranian courts.”
December 23, 1991 – The Swiss arrested Zeyal Sarhadi outside the Iranian Embassy on an international arrest warrant issued by France after the killing of former PM Shahpour Bakhtiar in August. The 25-year-old Sarhadi immediately claimed diplomatic immunity. Accordingly, the Iranian regime barred the employees of the Swiss embassy from leaving Tehran. Later, the ruling clerics closed the Swiss embassy and expelled the Red Cross. A Swiss businessman disappeared in Tehran in March 1992 and ended up being a hostage. Sarhadi, the great-nephew of Iran’s then-president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was later acquitted on grounds of “improper evidence”.
January 19, 1992 – Reporting on the Iranian influence over militant groups in Lebanon, the Washington Post wrote: “But experts said the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979, and the holding of U.S. diplomats for 444 days at the end of the Carter administration, convinced some Iranian factions as well as their sympathizers in Lebanon that hostage-holding was an effective form of revolutionary warfare, with an impressive political payoff as well as potential economic gain… After most of the (TWA Flight 847) passengers were released, a small group kept behind by Mugniyah was let go only after personal intervention by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of the parliament and now president of Iran. This demonstration of Iran’s influence with the Hezbollah captors was the starting point of the secret U.S. efforts in 1985-86 to negotiate with Iran for the release of the Americans being held in Lebanon, according to anti-terrorist officials who were in government at the time.”
The Post added: “At the request of The Washington Post, Williamson furnished a chronology and explanation of U.S.-Iranian negotiations on this claim since 1988. These records show the United States agreed to pay Iran the $278 million in a meeting between Williamson and the chief Iranian negotiator, Goudarz Eftekhar-Jahromi, at The Hague last Feb. 14-15.”
While extensively covering the hostage negotiations between the Rafsanjani government and the Bush administration through then-UN’s Secretary General Perez de Cuellar as an intermediary, the Post added: “British journalist John McCarthy brought out a letter signed by Islamic Jihad and addressed to Perez de Cuellar, promising to release the remaining Western hostages if the U.N. chief could arrange the release of all Muslim “freedom fighters” in the Mideast and Europe.”
March 17, 1992 – An attack against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires resulted in the death of 20 and the injury of 250 people. The terror attack was carried out by Hezbollah at the behest of the Iranian regime.
March 6, 1992 – An Egyptian diplomat in Turkey, named Abdullah al-Hazabi, was killed by a bomb explosion while starting his car. According to the police investigation, the bomb was tied to the switch of his car. This assassination was similar to the assassination of Kais al-Robaei and Victo Marvik, both killed in Turkey.
May 9, 1992 – Seven suspected terrorists (among them were six Iranian citizens) from the Middle East, possibly linked to the March bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, have been detained for deportation in Quito, Ecuador, Interpol, and Ecuadoran police said.
June 4, 1992 – Ali-Akbar Ghorbani, a member of the MEK was kidnapped and killed under torture by Tehran’s terrorists in Istanbul. According to UPI in 1996, “a Turkish Muslim extremist, Irfan Cagrici, has confessed to receiving military and political training in Iran, police have told Turkey’s news media. Cagrici, who was arrested last month, has admitted abducting and killing two Iranian dissidents, Abbas Goulizadeh and Ali Akbar Ghorbani, in Istanbul on orders from Iranian diplomats in 1992, police said. He has also confessed to killing newspaper editor Cetin Emec in Istanbul in 1990 and ordering the murder that year of another prominent writer, Tarik Dursun, police said. In order to help the terrorists to flee Turkey, the regime’s then-interior minister Abdollah Nouri travels with 17 other “MOIS diplomats” to Turkey and replaces two of the assailants in the regime’s embassy in Ankara. Turkish officials pledged to the former regime’s president Rafsanjani for investigating the case.
August 3, 1992- Gholam Ghahremani, a supporter of MEK who was seeking political asylum in Dubai was kidnapped from his residence and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran.
August 6, 1992 – Fereydoun Farrokhzad, a popular Iranian singer, was killed at his home in Bonn. German authorities were never able to resolve the mystery surrounding his brutal murder, but Iranian dissidents believe the regime in Tehran was responsible. Mirza Agha Asgari, an Iranian author living in Germany, told Radio Farda that he tried to reopen the case but German authorities told him that only Farrokhzad’s family could submit such a request. Farrokhzad was divorced and had only one sister, named Pooran, living in Iran and could never take on the political establishment. Pooran died in December 2016. His other sister, prominent Iranian poet, Forough had died before the revolution.
September 17, 1992 – Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, leader of the KDPI, and three Kurdish aides, Homayoun Ardalan, Fattah Abdollahi, and Nouri Dehkordi, were assassinated in the Greek restaurant Mykonos in Berlin, Germany. The Mykonos operation was carried out by personnel from the Special Operations Council of the MOIS. Fallahian put Abdul-Rahman Banihashemi in charge of the Mykonos team. Banihashemi was assisted in Germany by a local agent called Kazem Darabi. Some 15 years later, on December 10, 2007, Germany released and deported two of the crime’s masterminds, including Kazem Darabi. Upon his arrival in Tehran Darabi was given a hero’s welcome and given a senior position in the government.
January 11, 1993 – Gunmen on the Iranian regime’s payroll opened fire on a vehicle that belonged to the MEK on the road from Baquba to Mandali, in the Iraqi Diyala province. In this incident, Hossein Kazemi was killed and three other MEK members were injured.
January 24, 1993 – A car bomb killed Ugur Mumcu, 50, one of Turkey’s best-known newspaper columnists. The LATimes reported: “Turkey’s state television news hinted at what many openly suspect: that responsibility for the killing may be linked to Iran’s Islamic revolutionary radicals, despite a recent improvement in official relations between Ankara and Tehran.”
January 27, 1993- Turkish Interior Minister said a terrorist network linked with the Iranian regime carried out the assassination of Turkish journalist, Ugur Mumcu. According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, an Islamist group with links to Iran was held responsible for the murder.
March 9, 1993 – Delaviz Narou’i and Heybatollah Narou’i, two chiefs of the Narou’i tribe of Baluchistan province, were shot dead outside their home in Karachi, Pakistan.
March 16, 1993 – Mohammad-Hossein-Naghdi, the NCRI Representative in Italy, was shot dead by two terrorists astride a motorcycle in broad daylight in Rome as he was driving to work. Following a number of failed attempts, two Iranian terrorists carrying counterfeit U.S. dollars and a collection of documents were arrested and expelled from Italy.
In July 1996, an Italian magistrate requested files from Tehran on the Rome-based diplomat Hamid Parandeh. The Iranian Embassy in Italy denied involvement in the 1993 killing, saying the slaying was most likely the result of factional fighting among Iranian resistance groups. A group of Italian lawmakers called on the government to revoke Parandeh’s diplomatic immunity because he was suspected of masterminding the assassination. The Iranian regime then returned Parandeh to Tehran, where he started working in the office of then Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
April 11, 1993 – New York Times reported that at least 100,000 dollars had been deposited in the account of the prime suspects of the World Trade Center bombing. The money primarily came from Iran. According to the Times, the FBI was investigating the incident but whether the US intelligence community managed to drive the right conclusions was proven negative in the years to come.
June 6, 1993 – Mohammad Hassan Arbab, a member of the MEK was assassinated around noon in front of his residence in Karachi by 4 terrorists dispatched by the Khomeini regime.
June 10, 1993 – A powerful bomb exploded near the MEK headquarters in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and caused severe damage to the base.
August 26, 1993 – Mohammad Qaderi, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, was kidnapped in Ankara, Turkey, by MOIS agents, and his mutilated body was found a few days later.
August 28, 1993 – Mehran Bahram Azadfar was fatally shot by two Persian-speaking gunmen while a third person stood guard in the garden.
October 6, 1993 – An assault carried out by the Iranian regime’s sponsored terrorists on two MEK members who were shopping in the Shaab district of Baghdad led to the death of Majidreza Ebrahimi.
October 11, 1993 – William Nygaard, head of Norway’s second largest publishing house, was shot three times outside his Oslo home for publishing the book. A Lebanese national and a former senior Iranian diplomat at the regime’s embassy in Oslo were accused of involvement in the assassination of a Norwegian publisher. According to the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), Kripos, the Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service has been investigating the assassination case of William Nygaard for 12 years since it was resumed in 2009. The name of the Iranian former diplomat has not been made public as of today.
January 4, 1994 – Taha Kermanj, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, was killed by regime terrorists in Corum, Turkey.
January 29, 1994 – A gunman shot and killed Naeb Imran Maaytah, Jordan’s second-ranking diplomat in Beirut, Lebanon. In Amman, Western diplomats saw a possible link between the assassination and Jordan’s recent request that Iran reduces its diplomatic presence in Amman.
April 4, 1994 – Muslim Khani, a member of the national football team, was shot by the terror squads in Leuven, Belgium.
May 29, 1994 – Tehran-sponsored terrorists opened fire on a vehicle north of Baghdad and killed MEK member Ahmad Sadr Lahijani (Ala).
June 3, 1994 – Hossein Shahriarifar, an Iranian terrorist, was arrested along with two other Iranians in Thailand on charges of plotting to carry out a suicide attack on the Israeli embassy in Bangkok. The truck was stopped by police as he was driving to the embassy. Two years later Shahriarifar was sentenced to death but in 1998, following pressure from Iran, Thailand set him free.
June 24, 1994 – Osman Muhammed Amini, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran was assassinated by the regime’s agents at his home in Copenhagen.
July 6, 1994 – Reuters reported that the Filipino government has arrested an agent of the Iranian regime named Hosseini on charges of providing financial support for Abu Sayyaf group.
July 15, 1994 – The foreign ministry of Venezuela announced that it had declared four Iranian diplomats persona non grata and asked them to leave the country after they were implicated in the attempted abduction of an exiled Iranian.
July 18, 1994 – The attack on the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires (AMIA Center) killed 26 people and injured 127. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin blamed the bombing on the Iranian regime. The case revealed a corrupt political elite in the highest positions in the Argentine government that was bribed by the Iranian regime. Alberto Nisman, a brave prosecutor who was vigorously trying to shed light on the Iranian regime’s responsibility in this case was also murdered on January 18, 2015.
August 18, 1994 – According to UPI, David Litman, the spokesperson of the International Peace Organization, said: “France has made a secret deal with Iran to obtain the information that led to the arrest of Carlos the Jackal. This deal included France’s decision to extradite two assassins to Tehran, who were wanted in Switzerland for killing an Iranian dissident (i.e. Dr. Kazem Rajavi) in April 1990.
November 14, 1994 – Mohamed Ali Assadi, 38, an Iranian dissident was stabbed to death in Bucharest, Romania. Colonel Dan Secrieru, the spokesman of the Police Inspectorate, said three assailants burst into the victim’s apartment and thrust a two-edged Ninja sword into his back.
February 20, 1996 – Zahra Rajabi, a senior member of the MEK, was shot to death in her Istanbul apartment alongside one of the MEK sympathizers Ali Moradi. Ms. Rajabi had gone to Turkey to assist Iranian refugees in that country. Following the murder, Fateh district prosecutor Salim Ulush declared that this incident was political terrorism, most likely carried out by Iran’s secret services. Turkish media echoed the prosecutor’s remarks. But instead of being placed on trial, four diplomats of the mullahs’ regime in Turkey were sent back to Iran on April 10, 1996, as a consequence of their role in the assassinations of Ms. Rajabi and a Turkish intellectual.
May 17, 1995 – Terrorists on the Iranian regime’s payroll opened fire on a vehicle carrying five passengers on Abi Talib Street, Shaab area of Baghdad, killing 2 MEK members, named Effat Haddad and Fereshteh Esfandiari.
July 10, 1995 – During the attack on a vehicle on the Baghdad highway, 3 MEK members were assassinated. The gunmen’s car was chased by other MEK members and eventually crashed. The incident led to the arrest of one of the perpetrators and their car which was fully loaded with weapons and ammunition was seized by the police.
October 6, 1995 – The explosion of a bomb under the car of Sheikh Jalal Hosseini, Secretary General of the National Islamic Organization of Iranian Kurdistan (Khebat), by MOIS agents resulted in the wounding of Sheikh Jalal Hosseini’s son.
December 22, 1995 – While several hired terrorists of the Iranian regime were preparing an 81mm mortar launcher, five kilometers east of the MEK’s Badizadegan camp, west of Baghdad, encountered the unwanted presence of an Iraqi citizen. The terrorists killed the innocent man and ran away from the scene.
March 4, 1996 – Two Sunni clerics, named Abdul Malik Molazadeh and Jamshid Zehi, were shot dead by the terrorists of the Khomeini regime in Karachi, Pakistan.
April 6, 1996 – Abolghasem Mesbahi, a leading intelligence official in the Iranian government who later defected to the West, offered valuable information about the Iranian regime’s terror machine in the West. He testified as witness “C” in the “Mykonos trial and accused high-ranking officials in the regime who ordered all political assassinations abroad and at home. As a part of his testimony, Mesbahi recalled how the highest regime officials were bent on liquidating Professor Rajavi: “By eliminating Rajavi at the beginning of Rasanjani’s term as President, they wanted to prove that they were powerful and possessed all the means they needed.”
May 23, 1996 – Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said: “A clandestine group intended to assassinate me. They acted upon a religious decree from Iran.”
June 5, 1996 – The interior Minister of Bahrain exposed a plan to topple the ruling family by fundamentalist Shiites. The leader of the group, Ali Kazem Almottaqavi, had been living in Iran since 1983. He was led by Brigadier Ahmad Sharifi of the Revolutionary Guards.
March 7, 1996 – An Iraqi-hired hitman shot MEK member Hamidreza Rahmani at close range in Saadoon Street in Baghdad.
March 13, 1996 – The leader of a fundamentalist terrorist group in Turkey was arrested by police. He admitted that he was given weapons by the mullahs’ embassy in Ankara to assassinate an anti-fundamentalist Turkish author.
May 13, 1996 – The Iranian Resistance exposed a plan by the mullahs’ Intelligence Ministry to attack the residence of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Resistance’s president-elect, in a Paris suburb.
June 25, 1996 – The Khobar Towers bombing destroyed a U.S. Air Force barracks outside Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicemen and wounding almost 400 others. A small terrorist entity known as Saudi Hezbollah was blamed for the attack, but the FBI and other U.S. counterterrorism officials soon concluded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had played a key role in selecting the target and training the perpetrators. Despite the evidence, the Clinton administration decided that military reprisals at that point would undermine the larger objective of establishing a diplomatic opening to Tehran. As a kind of compromise, the Clinton administration chose instead to send a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami that indicated Washington now had direct evidence of IRGC involvement in the attacks, and insisted that Tehran bring to justice those responsible (either in Iran or in Saudi Arabia), and sought Khatami’s help in ending Iranian support for terrorism. Yet, the message also stated that the United States wanted to work toward better relations with Iran and noted that the attack had not occurred on Khatami’s watch, but before his election.
The New Yorker wrote: “On September 10, 1997, the United States government moved to dismiss the indictment against Hani el-Sayegh (a Saudi member of the Tehran-backed Hezbollah al-Hejaz), citing his refusal to cooperate as well as their inability to obtain corroborating witnesses. [FBI Director Louis] Freeh was frustrated, Bandar told an associate, but in the White House people acted like it was a ‘gift from Heaven.’ From that moment on, Bandar believed, political pressure from the White House ceased for good. In Bandar’s view, Clinton was a romantic who had become excited by the possibility of converting his Iranian adversary. Bandar told Freeh that he had once told White House officials that the Saudis could close the investigation so that no one would have to retaliate against Iran. ‘I bet they were smiling,’ Freeh responded.”
In a statement on October 4, 1999, US Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “The U.S. investigation of the attack at Khobar is ongoing. We are investigating information concerning the involvement of Saudi nationals, Iranian government officials, and others. And we have not reached a conclusion regarding whether the attack was directed by the government of Iran.”
October 25, 1997 – At 5:00 p.m. local time, the attack on a MEK convoy on the highway to Baqubah in the Iraqi Diyala province led to the killing of MEK member Changhis Hadikhanlou.
November 12, 1997 – At 7:50 p.m. local time, a team of gunmen hired by the MOIS and dispatched to Iraq from Tehran via Kermanshah, Ilam, and Mehran, targeted a MEK vehicle in the west of Baghdad. Nosratollah Bahu and Yahya Mohammadpour were killed and another MEK member was injured.
December 3, 1997 – Seyyed Jamal Nikjuyan, an activist of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, was assassinated by the regime’s agents in Iraq.
July 28, 1998 – A bomb explosion near the MEK office in Baghdad killed three Iraqi citizens and injured 11 others.
November 26, 1998 – A former political prisoner, Reza Pirzadi, was murdered by the terrorist agents of the Iranian regime in Pakistan. 45-year-old Pirzadi was a former soldier who was released from Iranshahr prison two years ago. Six gunmen abducted Pirzadi in his house in Panjgur city of Pakistan and killed him with a machine gun. Then they returned his body to his house and left it there.
March 18, 1999 – At 7:50 p.m. local time, Tehran-funded terrorists in the Abu Ghraib area in the west of Baghdad, planted a car full of explosives near MEK’s Badizadegan camp. The bomb blew up near the customs building and several passing cars of ordinary Iraqi citizens were completely destroyed, killing four Iraqis and injuring many more.
June 9, 1999 – A bus carrying 37 MEK members who were traveling from Baghdad to Camp Ashraf was hit by a car bomb carrying 250 kg of plastic explosives that was parked on the side of the street. As a result of the explosion, six MEK members, Faribah Mouzarmi, Abbas Rafii, Masoumeh Gudarzi, Javad Fotuhi, Bijad Aghazadeh Naini, and Akbar Ghanbarnejad, were killed and 21 others were injured. Another bus that was carrying Iraqi citizens and drove by was hit by the explosion too, injuring many of its passengers.
November 2, 1999 – A car bomb destroyed almost an entire MEK camp in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. At 7:30 p.m. local time, a Scania truck containing 2 tons of explosives blew off and created a deep hole with a diameter of 12 meters and a depth of 6 meters and destroying the buildings of the camp and shattering the glass of all windows within a radius of 700 meters. The blast killed 5 MEK members, Hamid Ahrar, Mohammadreza Dalir, Abbas Farghzadeh, Hamid Danai, and Ruhollah Safa, and 54 others were injured. Also, one Iraqi citizen was killed and 24 other Iraqis were injured.
Prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Americans (led by former US ambassador to Afghanistan under the Bush administration Zalmay Khalilzad) met with their Iranian counterparts to strike a deal to facilitate the Baghdad takeover. The allied forces bombed the MEK in Iraq and asked the National Liberation Army of Iran to gather all forces and hand out their weapons, a move that played a decisive role in creating the unstable environment in Diyala Province, in post-invasion Iraq. In turn, the Iranian regime stealthily conquered the Western neighbor and killed hundreds of American soldiers, and turned Iraq into a failed proxy state in the decade that followed their talks with Khalilzad and commitments made to the Bush administration.
March 23, 2007 – Fifteen Royal Navy personnel from HMS Cornwall were searching a merchant vessel when they were surrounded by the regime’s IRGC Navy and detained off the Iran–Iraq coast. To extort London, Tehran staged a propaganda show on state TV, humiliating the hostages by broadcasting forced confessions. A week later, on 3 April 2007, Jalal Sharafi, another Iranian regime terrorist, was released in Baghdad and claimed he was being held and interrogated by the CIA.
May 11, 2007 – Kian Tajbakshsh was the fourth Iranian American, after Ali Shakeri, Haleh Esfandiari, and Nazi Azima, to be incarcerated, detained, or put under house arrest. He was convicted on charges of espionage but eventually, he and his family received their passports and permission to leave Iran on January 16, 2016 (on Implementation Day) of the US–Iran deal. On January 28, they left Iran for the United States. President Barack Obama heralded the implementation of a nuclear deal and prisoner swap with Iran as a victory for diplomacy that would advance U.S. interests and potentially spark more cooperative relations between Tehran and the world.
“We released seven terrorists who had helped Iran with their nuclear program, and we agreed not to prosecute another 14 terrorists for doing the same thing,” Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on Fox News.
July 1, 2009 – Clotilde Reiss (born July 31, 1985) was a French doctoral student who was arrested in connection with the protests following the 2009 presidential election in Iran. According to the IRGC-run news agency Fars, Clotilde Reiss was said to “have admitted” during the trial that she had given the culture department of the French embassy a report on the demonstrations. Clotilde Reiss was released from Iranian custody on August 16, 2009, on bail of 213,000 euros and awaited her verdict at the French embassy in Tehran. Even though French President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected the regime’s president Ahmadinejad’s offer to exchange Reiss with the assassins of Shahpour Bakhtiar, France eventually gave in to Tehran’s prison swap offer on May 18, 2010.
January 31, 2009 – Roxana Saberi, an American CBS News correspondent was arrested in Iran and charged with espionage. Reporters Without Borders states that she was released by paying a ransom. When Saberi got back to the States, she especially thanked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in person for pressing Iran to release her from a Tehran jail. News reports did not elaborate on how the Obama administration succeeded with her release.
July 31, 2009 – Three Americans, Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd, and Shane Bauer were taken into custody by the Iranian regime’s border guards for crossing into Iran while hiking near the Iranian border in Iraqi Kurdistan. On September 14, 2010, after more than a year in prison, Sarah Shourd was released on 5 billion rials (about US$465,000). The two men were released from prison and flown back to the United States via Oman on September 21, 2011, following a 10 billion rial (about US $930,000) bail-for-freedom deal posted by Oman.
According to Wikileaks, the Oman back channel turned out to become instrumental in the clandestine US-Iran diplomacy that led to the 2015 nuclear talks.
April 2016 – Ahmad Reza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish disaster medicine doctor, lecturer, and researcher was accused of espionage and collaboration with Israel and sentenced to death while he was on a trip to Iran. Playing with Djalali’s life, the Iranian regime has tried to force the Swedish government as well as the Belgian government into a prison swap in exchange for a convicted terrorist diplomat Asadollah Assadi and/or the former convicted prison guard Hamid Noury.
April 3, 2016 – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British dual citizen who was detained in Iran as part of a long-running dispute between Britain and Iran. In early September 2016, she was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly plotting to “topple the Iranian government”. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally released on 16 March 2022 immediately after Britain paid £393.8 million to Iran.
August 2017 – Anoosheh Ashoori, a British–Iranian businessman was detained in Evin prison in Iran. He was caught when he was in the country to visit his mother. In August 2019, the Iranian regime’s judiciary sentenced Ashoori to 12 years in prison; 10 years for allegedly “spying for Israel’s Mossad” and two years for “acquiring illegitimate wealth”. Nevertheless, he was released along with Zaghari-Ratcliffe on 16 March 2022 immediately after Britain paid £393.8 million to Iran.
December 2017 – Josh Meyer’s investigative report about Project Cassandra, published by Politico revealed how the US intelligence community as well as the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) efforts to eradicate Hezbollah’s huge financial network were blocked by the Obama administration for the 2015 nuclear deal to succeed. According to the evaluation of experts and inspectors of Hezbollah affairs in Lebanon, this group earns more than 1 billion dollars annually from drug trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, and other illegal activities. Washington learned that this amount of money is used to expand and strengthen this group and its terrorist activities.
January 1, 2018 – Morad Moshe Tahbaz, an Iranian American businessman and conservationist was arrested along with eight other Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF)-affiliated individuals. Tehran has tied the fate of Tahbaz and other dual nationals with the JCPOA talks.
April 23, 2018 – Emad Sharqi, an Iranian-American businessman, and his wife were taken into custody by Iranian authorities and held in Evin prison. Emad Shargi was taken to a Tehran court on November 30, 2020, where he was informed that he had been convicted of espionage without a trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He and other detained dual nationals are subject to Tehran’s extortion tactics with the West during the JCPOA talks.
June 2018 – The Belgian, German and French police arrested a group of MOIS terrorists who planned to bomb the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Villepinte, near Paris. In almost all previous cases, the Iranian regime had employed local subordinates, foreign national mercenaries, or low-level hitmen to execute terrorist operations on European soil. But this time, Assadollah Assadi, a senior MOIS agent and the third counselor at the regime’s embassy in Austria was instructed to bring a bomb comprised of the high-explosive TATP from Tehran to Europe and deliver it to a terror cell that had been secretly liaising with Tehran for more than ten years.
The Belgian Police caught Nassimeh Naami and Amir Saadouni, an MOIS sleeper cell disguised as MEK supporters, who were driving from Antwerp to Paris and carrying a detonator and half a kilo of TATP. Soon after, their accomplice Mehrdad Arefani was arrested in France, and Assadi, their MOIS chief commissioner, was arrested in Germany. They were charged with attempting to carry out a terrorist attack at the Free Iran Summit 2018.
The Iranian regime took a big diplomatic risk in its efforts to eliminate the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi at an event that was also attended by tens of thousands of Iranian dissidents and hundreds of international dignitaries.
On the very same day, the bombing was set to take place, Rouhani traveled to Vienna for high-stakes diplomatic arrangements, during a highly sensitive period when his government needed financial and diplomatic support from Europe more than ever. Later, during an interview at the Munich Security Conference, then-Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attempted to cite the associated political risks as evidence that Tehran was not involved in the Villepinte bomb plot.
ظریف وزیر خارجه رژیم تروریستی آخوندی که خودش شخصا درگیر این توطئه تروریستی بود در روز دستگیری اسدی تلاش کرد باطرح ادعای مضحک «عملیات فریب»دیپلمات تروریستش را درببرد و این جنایت را به قربانیانش نسبت دهد.#دیپلمات_تروریست#DontFreeTerrorists#No2Appeasementpic.twitter.com/boOgzFvao2
— ایران ما (@iranema2017) July 7, 2022
Through the international collaboration of several law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the plot was thwarted hours before the bomb was to go off and one of the biggest terror attacks in the Western hemisphere was avoided.
All four suspects were tried, lost appeal, and convicted of state terrorism by the Belgian Justice system, and the Belgian citizenship of Na’ami, Sadooni, and Arefani was revoked. But on July 20, 2022, the Belgian parliament voted to ratify a fiercely criticized treaty allowing prisoner exchanges with Tehran, potentially opening the way for the convicted state terrorists to be released back to Iran. The De Croo government had signed a treaty with the Iranian regime and pushed the parliament to pass it.
July 14, 2019 – Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist and academic at Sciences Po was detained in Iran and is now awaiting the next Paris-Tehran deal.
November 14, 2019 – Masoud Molavi Vardanjani was shot dead on an Istanbul street, a little over a year after the Turkish officials said he left Iran. A police report into the killing said Vardanjani had an “unusual profile”. According to the investigation, he worked in the cyber security unit at the regime’s defense ministry and had become a vocal critic of the Iranian authorities. A staff member of the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul was arrested for helping the mastermind of the murder of Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in 2019, Sabah newspaper reported. Muhammad Reza Naserzadeh, 43, was accused of forging travel documents for Ali Esfanjani, the alleged mastermind of the killing, to smuggle him to Iran. An investigation revealed that the murder suspect Abdulvahap Koçak, who had ties to fugitive Iranian drug lord Naji Sharif Zindashti, had met Esfanjani prior to the murder. Zindashti, who is still at large despite a string of charges against him in Turkey, was also implicated in the disappearance of Habib Chaab, another Iranian dissident who disappeared in October. Chaab, who had been living in exile in Sweden, was allegedly lured to Istanbul by Iranian intelligence and was smuggled into Iran.
October 16, 2020- Activists German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raoof were arbitrarily detained and are now behind bars in Tehran’s Evin prison, waiting for Berlin and Tehran to agree on a deal.