NewsSpecial WireAustrian firms against government probe into Iran president’s role...

Austrian firms against government probe into Iran president’s role in killings

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Iran Focus: London, Jul. 05 – A number of Austrian corporations have called on their government not to pursue the case against Iran’s new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, following revelations that he took part in the assassination of prominent Kurdish exiles, on the grounds that it would undermine their multi-million dollar business deals with the Islamic Republic, according to a state-run Persian website.
Iran Focus

London, Jul. 05 – A number of Austrian corporations have called on their government not to pursue the case against Iran’s new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, following revelations that he took part in the assassination of prominent Kurdish exiles, on the grounds that it would undermine their multi-million dollar business deals with the Islamic Republic, according to a state-run Persian website.

The Austrian business giants contacted the Foreign Ministry and appealed to officials “not to create friction between the two countries”, wrote Baztab website, operated by former Revolutionary Guards Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Mohsen Rezai.

Rezai is currently the secretary general of the State Expediency Council and widely tipped to receive an important portfolio in Ahmadinejad’s cabinet.

Baztab wrote that the action on the part of major Austrian firms came after a number of Austrian officials accused Ahmadinejad of having been involved in the 1989 assassination of Iranian Kurdish leader Abdorrahman Ghassemlou in Vienna.

The report was referring to Austrian Green Party leader Peter Pilz, who said he was seeking a warrant issued for the arrest of Ahmadinejad.

Pilz said he had received information showing that Ahmadinejad travelled to the Austrian capital a few days before the slayings to deliver the murder weapons to the commandos who carried out the attack, the Associated Press reported.

Baztab quoted a director of an Austrian company, “which exports 35 million dollars worth of equipment and machinery to Iran annually,” as saying that after approaching the Foreign Ministry, he was told no government official had as of yet stated any official position regarding the case.

“The Austrian government is looking to strengthen ties with Iran. Two years ago, its chancellor travelled to Iran and met with Iranian heads of state in a very amicable environment”, the company director was told.

Information obtained by Iran Focus from sources inside Iran and Iranian exiles shows that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played a direct and a crucial role in the assassination.

In 1989, the Iranian government lured Ghassemlou, 59, to his death by offering to negotiate an autonomy agreement for Iranian Kurdistan. Ghassemlou readily accepted the offer and arrived in Vienna on July 11, 1989, to meet high-level emissaries of the Iranian government, who turned out to be commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

Vienna police discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of Ghassemlou and his two associates in a flat the following day. Within hours, the police had recovered the murder weapon, detained two suspects and identified a third.

One of the detainees was Brig. Gen. Mohammad Jaafar Sahraroudi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Ramezan Garrison in western Iran. The second suspect was Amir Mansour Bozorgian, an under-cover officer of Iran’s secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

It was Sahraroudi who had recruited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a team leader for the operation. While Sahraroudi commanded the “on-site” team that carried out the killings in the flat where the talks with the Kurdish delegation were being held, Ahmadinejad was leading the support team that took care of logistics and escape routes. He received the weapons and ammunition for the operation from the Iranian embassy in Vienna, after they were smuggled to Vienna in diplomatic pouches.

Under pressure from Iran, Austrian authorities sent the two suspects to Tehran on the first available flight. Tehran rewarded Vienna with more favourable trade deals.

Baztab wrote that pressure by large firms on the Austrian government not to investigate the murders forced it to take a defensive stand.

Austrian exports to Iran totalled 481 million dollars last year while Iranian exports to the European state stood at just under 10 million dollars, Baztab added.

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