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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Iran connection

Quoting an anonymous Iranian source, Ali Nourizadeh in Asharq al-Awsat wrote that the Mehlis report:

sent shockwaves through the Iranian leadership. Officials in Tehran were greatly worried because of the strategic links with Damascus and because the report mentioned the name of Ahmad Jibril, head of the Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine (general command) who maintains close links to the Iranian security and intelligence services. Iran had been warned that Washington was ready to adopt the same hard-line approach it was following with Damascus, the source reported.
The article goes on to focus on Iran-US relations and the nuclear issue (it makes bizarre claims about Iran’s supreme leader’s reported dissatisfaction with the performance of his "street sweeper" president, who has no real executive power).

Iran’s official reaction to the Mehlis report was predictable. The Iranian foreign minister said the report should not be “politicized” and hoped “a final report is composed and submitted based on technical and legal foundations.” Of course, given that Iran also praised the dismal Syrian “cooperation” with the probe, it is unlikely the report will ever be deemed acceptable by Iran.

Asharq al-Awsat reveals a connection that not many have made.

Naming PFLP-GC as major co-conspirators was one of the surprises of the report. Mehlis also expressed the desire during his Tuesday briefing to interview Jibril and members of his Damascus based organization. And judging from recent events along the Syrian border, the Lebanese authorities seem to close to a confrontation with them, though the details are sketchy.
Mehlis has a lot of leads, and we only know of the ones that lead to Syria.

But given Jibril's Iran connection, could Iran also be involved in the Hariri killing?

The most important question revolves around Hizbullah's role. I doubt they’re involved, at least not directly, but they stand to become the biggest losers if Mehlis implicates both Syria and Iran.

interesting, kais. until i read your post, i assumed that the blame for hariri's murder was contained within Syria's and Lebanon's borders. Of course, i knew that the Western powers and the Gulfies were going to use it to damage Iran to the best of their abilities, but the thought of blaming Iran as a co-conspirator is a new and surprizing development.

Initially, we sought to find an Iranian connection through Hizballah. Of course, the latter's leadership is too shrewd to get involved in such an enterprize, and (I believe) the organization is too valuable to Iran for it to be used like that.

But your post begs the question: could the Iranian apparatus have sought to achieve that policy objective through other means? Could they have used an organization that is capable of carrying out such an operation (w/ technical advise of course), but at the same time, which has very little strategic value to Iranian foreign policy (unlike Hizballah)?

I guess we'll find out as the investigation unfolds.
"the Mehlis report sent shockwaves through the Iranian leadership"

You mean that they believed that Syria was innocent? Or that Iran has a moral problem with terrorism?
Raja, I don't deny that Hezbollah has a good expertise, but I think that the Syrian have this expertise and that they don't need anybody to plant a bomb. Syria is a state with an army for God's sake!
Kais & Raja:

You know, witch hunts are not uncommon in modern history. McCarthy's is the first to come to mind, but it certainly is not the only one. The Hariri investigation has every potential to turn into a witch hunt. I am not saying that it is impossible for Iran to be involved, but I would keep a critical mind about it.

Anon 11:12
You misunderstood what Raja was saying. He said that if Iran is involved, it would not need Hizballah to carry it out and can do it through Syria without endagering Hizballah.
See this
The Iranian connection is plausible but will be difficult to prove.
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