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Iranian Murders in the West

2:27 PM, Oct 18, 2011 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Believing he was recruiting the Mexican drug gang “Los Zetas” to kill Al-Jubeir, Arbabsiar declared his indifference to how the Saudi diplomat would be murdered, even if it required bombing a crowded restaurant frequented by U.S. Senators. According to transcripts of conversations between Arbabsiar and a U.S. government informant wearing a recording device, Arbabsiar said “if you can do it outside, do it. . . . If not, restaurant, hit it, it’s OK.”

The concept of killing opponents of the Tehran dictatorship in a restaurant recalls one of the most infamous Iranian assassination actions in the West: the Mykonos Restaurant massacre in Berlin, in 1992. Iranian and Lebanese terrorists shot to death an Iranian Kurdish leader, Sadegh Sharafkandi, with two of his colleagues and a translator. Swedish Social Democratic leader Ingvar Carlsson was supposed to attend the Sharafkandi group’s dinner with Pierre Schori, a former Swedish state secretary for foreign affairs. But the two Swedes and their colleague, Sweden’s then-prime minister Carl Bildt, were called back to their homeland because of economic problems. If Carlsson and Schori had joined the Kurds in the Mykonos Restaurant, they might very well have been killed in the assault.

German authorities captured an Iranian controller in the Mykonos crime, Kazem Darabi, and one of the Lebanese, Abbas Hussein Rhayel, who fired single bullets into the head of each victim. The Germans stated that the murders were authorized by the elite “Special Affairs Committee” of the Iranian regime, composed of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then-president Rafsanjani, and two of their ministerial colleagues. Darabi and Rhayel, convicted of the Mykonos crime, were sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany but were released and deported to Iran in 2007. Two of their Lebanese accomplices received short sentences, and one was acquitted.

No Safe Haven, issued in 2008, enumerated 162 cases of Iranian dissidents murdered outside Iran, many of them in Iraq. At the end of last year, a reliable Iranian source in Western Europe, who declines to be named for obvious reasons, declared that 251 people had been killed abroad by the Iranian revolutionary regime, 180 of them in Iraq.

 These numbers involve targeted individuals or small groups, and exclude the dead in three infamous truck bombings. In the 1983 Beirut barracks attack, 299 U.S. and French service personnel were killed. Later came the two unsolved bombings in Argentina—the 1992 blast at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, in which 29 were killed and 242 injured, and the 1994 assault on the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association or AMIA, in which 85 died and 400 were wounded. The Argentine authorities have accused Iran of responsibility in both cases.

Opportunistic recruitment, including that of relatives, and murders in restaurants are old news in Tehran. A plan as reckless as that in which Mansour Arbabsiar was caught reflects the habitual mode of operation of the Iranian regime.

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