Iran’s New Leader


From the Times UK comes an interesting article about the new leader of Iran:

THE murders started in the 1980s. Kazem Sami, who was the first Iranian health minister after the 1979 Islamic revolution but fell out with the ayatollahs, was one of the first of dozens of dissidents to die. He was working in a Tehran clinic in November 1988 when an assailant posing as a patient stabbed him repeatedly.

The following July, three gunmen burst into a Vienna flat and opened fire on a meeting of Iranian Kurdish exiles. Among three people killed was Abdul Rahman Qassemlou, the leader of Kurdish opposition to the ayatollahs in Tehran. The murders have never been solved.

Almost a decade later, a clandestine group of Iranian militants began plotting the murder of Salman Rushdie, the victim of a fatwa sentencing him to death for supposed blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses.

For years there had been only the vaguest allegations of a link between those events. All that has changed with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline former mayor of Tehran, as Iran?s new president.

Ahmadinejad?s surprise victory in last month?s poll has unleashed a flood of accusation, innuendo and investigation of his militant pedigree. Accused by his enemies of orchestrating a string of murders in the 1980s and 1990s, Ahmadinejad, 49, is also being scrutinised by US intelligence agencies over claims that he participated in the student takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Opposition websites are buzzing with reports of a leaked document that purportedly proves Ahmadinejad led a team of would-be assassins that plotted to murder Rushdie.

The document remained untraceable last week but a prominent opposition figure, Maryam Rajavi, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, denounced Ahmadinejad as a ?terrorist, torturer and executioner?.

In a further twist, an Austrian newspaper claimed yesterday that the country?s authorities were studying classified documents suggesting he played a key role in the Vienna killings.

Iranian officials have dismissed many such allegations as ?absurd? and motivated by political malice. Asked by The New York Times whether he was among the hostage takers in 1979, Ahmadinejad replied: ?It is not true. It is only rumours.?

Born in the desert town of Garmsar, east of Tehran, in 1956, Ahmadinejad was the son of a blacksmith. He attended Tehran?s Elm-o Sanaat University in the last years of the Shah?s rule and was swept up in the wave of resentment that spawned the 1979 revolution.

With the return to Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution?s spiritual leader, Ahmadinejad became his university?s representative in the student Office for Strengthening Unity, which would play a central role in seizure of the US embassy.

Several former embassy hostages claimed last week Ahmadinejad was among the students who held them captive for 444 days. But experts using advanced facial recognition technology have established that he is not the man identified on a widely distributed photograph of hostages and captors.

As Islamic rule intensified in the early 1980s with purges of moderate students, Ahmadinejad joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an ultra-conservative group fiercely loyal to the ayatollahs.

A senior officer in the IRGC?s special ?internal security? brigade, Ahmadinejad?s duties included the suppression of dissident activity, which, according to his rivals, involved the interrogation, torture and execution of political prisoners.

US intelligence sources and Iranian opposition figures believe he became a key figure in the formation of the IRGC?s Qods Force, which has been linked to assassinations in the Middle East and Europe, including the murder of Qassemlou.

White House officials last week demanded that Tehran respond to questions about Ahmadinejad?s past. ?The Iranian government . . . has an obligation to speak concerning these questions,? said Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman.

Experts were divided over the impact of Ahmadinejad?s election. ?If the allegations are true, it becomes impossible to deal with him,? said Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.Other analysts said relations with Tehran were already so bad that Ahmadinejad could scarcely make them worse.

Your damn right it becomes impossible to deal with him and would be a huge mistake to even attempt it. BUT…you know the appeasers in Europe, which is pretty much all of Europe except Britian, will try to deal with this regime. The end result will be that Iran will have the bomb.

The National Council Of Resistance in Iran has more on this guy:

After finishing high school, Ahmadinejad went to Elm-o Sanaat University in 1975 to study engineering. Soon the whirlwind of Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept him from the classroom to the mosque and he joined a generation of firebrand Islamic fundamentalists dedicated to the cause of an Islamic world revolution,

In 1979, he became the representative of Elm-o Sanaat students in the Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, which later became known as the OSU.
The OSU was set up by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was at the time Khomeini?s top confidant. Beheshti wanted the OSU to organise Islamist students to counter the rapidly rising influence of the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq among university students.

The OSU played a central role in the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran in November 1979.

During the crackdown on universities in 1980, which Khomeini called the ?Islamic Cultural Revolution?, Ahmadinejad and the OSU played a critical role in purging dissident lecturers and students many of whom were arrested and later executed.

In the early 1980s, Ahmadinejad worked in the ?Internal Security? department of the IRGC and earned notoriety as a ruthless interrogator and torturer. According to the state-run website Baztab, allies of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami have revealed that Ahmadinejad worked for some time as an executioner in the notorious Evin Prison, where thousands of political prisoners were executed in the bloody purges of the 1980s.

In 1986, Ahmadinejad became a senior officer in the Special Brigade of the Revolutionary Guards and was stationed in Ramazan Garrison near Kermanshah in western Iran. Ramazan Garrison was the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards? ?extra-territorial operations?, a euphemism for terrorist attacks beyond Iran?s borders.

In Kermanshah, Ahmadinejad became involved in the clerical regime?s terrorist operations abroad and led many ?extra-territorial operations of the IRGC?. With the formation of the elite Qods (Jerusalem) Force of the IRGC, Ahmadinejad became one of its senior commanders. He was the mastermind of a series of assassinations in the Middle East and Europe, including the assassination of Iranian Kurdish leader Abdorrahman Qassemlou, who was shot dead by senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards in a Vienna flat in July 1989.

Sounds like the new President of Iran is a real winner.

(h/t Regime Change Iran)

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