Iran Focus: London, Aug. 24 Manouchehr Mottaki, 52, who was
confirmed on Wednesday by Irans hard-line parliament (Majlis)
as the new Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
was involved in a series of terrorist attacks outside Iran,
according to Iranian exiles and defectors from the theocratic
regime. Iran Focus
London, Aug. 24 Manouchehr Mottaki, 52, who was confirmed on Wednesday by Irans hard-line parliament (Majlis) as the new Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was involved in a series of terrorist attacks outside Iran, according to Iranian exiles and defectors from the theocratic regime.
Before the vote of confidence in parliament, several deputies privately expressed concern that Mottaki would face difficulties when travelling abroad, because the Turkish authorities had asked him to leave the country in 1989, when he was Irans ambassador in Ankara, after his role in several terrorist incidents in Turkey became known.
Iran Focus has learnt that Parliament Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, a hard-liner close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reassured deputies in private that Iran had obtained assurances from the Turkish authorities that they would not pursue the case against Mottaki any further.
Mottaki, until now chairman of the foreign affairs sub-committee of the Majlis, is a former Deputy Foreign Minister and served as Irans ambassador to Turkey and Japan.
As a radical Islamist in his student days in Indias Bangalore University, Mottaki was a fervent supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini. He returned to Iran during the revolution and joined the ranks of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) soon after the fall of the Shahs regime in 1979. After taking part in the bloody campaign against Kurdish dissidents, Mottaki moved to the Foreign Ministry, where for some time he was the IRGC liaison officer.
Mottaki was appointed Irans ambassador to Turkey in 1985 and it was during his tenure in Ankara that the Revolutionary Guard-turned-diplomat became involved in a number of terror attacks and assassinations of dissidents, according to Iranian opposition figures and defectors. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, at least 50 Iranian dissidents were kidnapped or assassinated in Turkey by Iranian secret agents often working closely with diplomats from Irans embassy and consulates.
On Mottakis watch, the Iranian embassy in Ankara and the consulate-general in Istanbul were turned into safe houses for agents of Irans notorious secret police hunting down Iranian dissidents, according to exiles.
In his highly-acclaimed book, Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Global Threat, published in 1993, author Mohammad Mohaddessin named Mottaki as a member of the Guards Corps before joining the diplomatic service and wrote that Mottaki was involved in at least two assassination attempts against the Mojahedin.
Mohaddessin, who is the foreign affairs chief of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, was himself the target of a failed assassination attempt in Turkey in March 1990. Irans official media, unaware that the terrorists attacked another NCRI official, precipitously broke the news that Mohaddessin had been killed in Istanbul. A sombre-looking Mohaddessin told journalists in Turkey that news of his death were premature.
Abolhassan Mojtahedzadeh, an Iranian political activist from the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK), was abducted in Istanbul in 1988. He was tortured inside Irans consulate in Istanbul. Turkish police miraculously found him in the boot of an official Iranian embassy vehicle only a few kilometres from the Iranian border, as Tehrans diplomats were trying to smuggle him to Iran.
Not all the victims were able to survive. According to Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, a former central council member of Ansar-e Hezbollah, a pressure group organised by the ultra-conservative leaders, Mottaki ordered the assassination of two Iranian exiles, Bahram Azarnia (Azarfar) and Mohammad Qaderi, in Turkey. Azarnia was found lying dead in a pool of blood after he had been shot eight times. Qaderi was kidnapped and his dead body was found two days later by Turkish police.
On August 7, 1988, while Mottaki was still Irans ambassador to Turkey, 58 Iranian nationals who had escaped their homeland were handed over to the Iranian embassy in Ankara by Turkish authorities. Four of them were later found dead in the town of Gomoush. The other 54 were executed en masse in the Iranian town of Orumieh as soon as they were transferred over the border. The Turkish security service revealed later that the Iranian ambassador, Manouchehr Mottaki, had bribed local Turkish officials to keep a lid on the gruesome murders.
According to Ebrahimi, less than four months after that incident, on November 16, 1988, Mottaki oversaw the kidnapping of nine members of the MeK. Three members of the group were murdered in cold blood and six were smuggled to Iran and have been serving life sentences for their opposition to Irans clerical rulers, he wrote.
Mottakis alleged terrorist acts include the 1986 kidnapping of a former Iranian Air Force colonel. Mohammad Pedram was forcefully taken from Ankara to Tehran, where he was imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison until his execution in 2001.
The Turkish authorities ordered Mottaki to leave Turkey in October 1989 for his role in assassinations and kidnappings in that country. The expulsion was couched in diplomatic terms, and Turkey agreed to allow Iran to avoid public embarrassment by withdrawing its ambassador.
Mottaki later became Vice-president of Islamic Cultural and Communications Organisation, an agency created by the Supreme Leader for export of Islamic revolution to other parts of the Muslim world.