State Sponsors of Terrorism - Iran
Iran remained the premier state sponsor of terrorism
in 1996. It continued to be involved in the planning
and execution of terrorist acts by its own agents and
by surrogates such as Lebanese Hizballah and continued
to fund and train known terrorist groups.
Tehran conducted at least eight dissident assassinations
outside Iran in 1996. In May 1996 Reza Mazlouman, a
government official under the Shah, was murdered in
Paris by an Iranian resident of Germany with alleged
ties to Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security
(MOIS). The suspect was extradited to France by Germany.
Seven other dissidents were assassinated by Iran in
1996 in Turkey and northern Iraq. Iran's primary targets
are members of the regime's main opposition groups,
the Mujahedine Khalq (MEK) and the Kurdish Democratic
Party of Iran (KDPI), as well as former officials of
the late Shah's government who speak out against the
Iran continued to provide supportincluding money,
weapons, and trainingto a variety of terrorist
groups, such as Hizballah, HAMAS, and the Palestine
Islamic Jihad (PIJ). It continued to oppose any recognition
of Israel and to encourage violent rejection of the
Middle East peace process. For example, Iranian Vice
President Habibi met with HAMAS leaders in Damascus
and praised their successful efforts immediately following
the February bombings in Israel. HAMAS claimed responsibility
for two more bombings in Israel the following week.
During a routine customs inspection of an Iranian
vessel in Antwerp in March, Belgian authorities discovered
a disassembled mortarlike weapon hidden in a shipment
of pickles. The shipment was consigned to an Iranian
merchant living in Germany. Iranian dissidents claim
that the mortar was intended for use in an assassination
attempt against Iranian exiles in Europe.
Testimony in the threeyearlong trial of
an Iranian and four Lebanese for the Iransponsored
killing of Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin's Mykonos
restaurant in 1992 concluded in late 1996. German authorities
issued an arrest warrant in March for Ali Fallahian,
Iran's Intelligence Minister. In the fall, former Iranian
President Abolhassan Bani Sadr and two other witnesses
testified against Iran. In final statements in late
November, German prosecutors charged Iranian Supreme
Leader Khamenei and Iranian President Rafsanjani with
approving the operation. (Guilty verdicts for four of
the accused were announced in April 1997.)
Iranian leaders have consistently denied being able
to revoke the fatwa against Salman Rushdie's life, in
effect for nearly eight years, claiming that revocation
is impossible because the author of the fatwa is deceased.
There is no indication that Tehran is pressuring the
15 Khordad Foundation to withdraw the $2 million reward
it is offering to anyone who will kill Rushdie.
In addition, Iran provides safehaven to elements of
the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Turkish separatist
group that has conducted numerous terrorist attacks
in Turkey and throughout Europe. Although Turkey and
Iran agreed to a joint operation in midOctober
to remove the PKK from the border region, Iran reportedly
failed to cooperate in a meaningful way.
Iran's terrorist network in the Persian Gulf remained active in 1996. The Government of Bahrain announced in June the discovery of a local Hizballah group of Bahraini Shiites who had been trained and sponsored by Iran in an effort to overthrow the ruling alKhalifa family.
Source: Excerpted from Patterns of Global Terrorism 1996, U.S. State Department