The Independent: Iran ordered the Lockerbie bombing in revenge for the accidental shooting down of an Iranian passenger jet by a US navy ship, according to a former Iranian intelligence officer who defected to Germany.
By Ian Johnston
Iran ordered the Lockerbie bombing in revenge for the accidental shooting down of an Iranian passenger jet by a US navy ship, according to a former Iranian intelligence officer who defected to Germany.
An al-Jazeera documentary, Lockerbie: What Really Happened?, claims the attack was carried out on Tehran’s behalf by the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
It also says that the bomb was planted on Pan Am flight 103 at Heathrow Airport, not at Malta as suggested during the trial that convicted Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
Megrahi, the only person convicted in relation to the attack, was jailed for life over the deaths of 270 people in the plane and on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland. However he was released by the Scottish Government after eight years on compassionate grounds because he had terminal cancer.
The Iranian intelligence officer, Abolghassem Mesbahi, told the programme that Iran had decided to “retaliate as soon as possible” after Iran Air ﬂight 655 was shot down by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf in July 1988 with the loss of 290 lives. The Lockerbie bombing happened in December of that year.
“The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and conﬁrmed by Ayatollah Khomeini,” he said.
“The target of the Iranian decision-makers was to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead.”
Mr Mesbahi once reported to a former Iranian president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora, 23, was killed, told The Daily Telegraph that relatives of the victims “have a right to know who killed their loved ones and why they were not protected”.
“I became convinced that Megrahi was not involved during his trial. It was so obviously a set-up,” he said.
“It seemed to me that the Syrian [bomb-making] technology ﬁtted perfectly, and I’m not surprised to hear there is evidence that Iran was responsible.”
However the documentary also says the attack was organised in Malta at meetings attended by Iranian, Syrian and Libyan officials, suggesting that Libya may have had some kind of involvement.
The programme alleges a convicted terrorist now living in Sweden may have been the person who put the bomb on the plane.