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Iran: Evidence Proves Mossad Kidnapped Asgari, Rendered Him to Israel

On the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of Iranian Gen. Ali Reza Asgari, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general said:

“We have a lot of evidence proving that members of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad) have kidnapped Asgari from Turkey and transferred him to Israel,” Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Daqiqi said on Saturday.

As readers here will recall, I first exposed the fact that Asgari was in an Israeli prison and that he was the same Prisoner X who had either died or been murdered in 2011.  Journalist-apologists for the Israeli security establishment took me to task after Iran demanded a UN investigation of the matter.  He claimed that I’d needlessly caused an international incident.  But even in his rebuttal, he carefully avoided targeting several of my keep claims in this matter (notably that he’d been kidnapped in Turkey).

If the Mossad did kidnap Asgari and throw him into an Israeli jail, it would be only one in a long series of such extraordinary renditions beginning with Adolph Eichmann, up to and including Mordecai Vanunu and Dirar Abusisi.  The list even includes an Israeli engineer, Maj. Avner Israel, who allegedly sold military secrets to the Egyptians in the 1950s.  After being lured by a honeypot agent to a European rendezvous, he was kidnapped, drugged and put on a plane. But he died of an overdose because the doctor on board didn’t correctly calculate the dosage.  All traces of the man (whose body was dropped out of a plane into the Mediterranean) and the botched operation were obliterated and not a word of it was known until fifty years after the fact.  The doctor responsible for this death (and for the drugging of Adolph Eichmann) committed suicide recently.  These are the wages of sin of the national security state.

Maariv wrote an Asgari follow-up story (Hebrew) which completely botched my coverage of this story:

The blogger, Richard Silverstein, even claimed Asgari died in an Israeli prison after undergoing torture.  At any rate, it later became clear the story was unfounded and Silverstein later conceded as much.  Iran took advantage of the false report to blame Israel for his kidnapping.

This is a blatantly false account.  I never remotely said my Israeli source’s account was false or baseless.  What I did say was that while some have disputed my account, none have offered any definitive evidence that it is wrong.  I conceded that I had not been able to find independent evidence to corroborate that Asgari was Prisoner X and had died in an Israeli prison.  I conceded that since I only had one source (a reliable one at that) it was possible he was wrong.  But again, I reiterated that I had no reason to believe he was.  I never said the report was wrong.

I will be writing to Hayim Iserovich, the unfortunate nonse who penned this nonsense, and his editor, demanding a correction.  But Israeli newspapers never admit they’re wrong: I suppose it’s considered effete and unmanly.  The fact that they never concede error, of course, is one of the reasons their credibility, with few exceptions, is so low.

UPDATE: I must own up to being wrong on at least one account.  After writing to Iserovich, he agreed to correct his report and removed the offending language.  More power to him!

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • mary December 17, 2012, 11:41 PM

    What fools. So proud of killing Palestinians that they crow about it to the high heavens, but they don’t want to admit they offed an Iranian general. Why? Because Iran can fight back?

  • Bob Mann December 18, 2012, 3:12 AM

    Are you taking this claim at face value or have you seen some of the evidence referenced in the quotation?

    If so, what is the evidence?

    • Richard Silverstein December 18, 2012, 3:22 AM

      Bob, I’m taking a claim by Iran that is the same exact claim as my source, as credible.

      As for whether Iranian intelligence services share such evidence with me, no they don’t. But if you want to ask them on my behalf I’d be delighted to see what they have.

  • Joel December 18, 2012, 5:39 AM

    Maybe Asgari defected to the West and the kidnap story was contrived to spare his family in Iran.

    • Richard Silverstein December 18, 2012, 10:06 AM

      Yeah, yeah, blah, blah. That’s the Mossad/hasbara line. Good regurgitation.

      • Joel December 19, 2012, 11:37 AM

        C’mon Richard. I was just ruminating.

  • herenot December 18, 2012, 1:21 PM
    • Richard Silverstein December 18, 2012, 11:28 PM

      Fascinating that Ynet panders to Israelis’ (I presume, like you) smug superiority complex in which they look down at everything Iran with disdain. This is a nasty habit which will end up biting you in the tush in the end. For every PressTV in Iran there are five comparable shmattehs in Israel (among those we could name are Inyan Merkazi, Arutz Sheva, Debka Files, Makor Rishon). Need I continue.

      • herenot December 19, 2012, 3:40 AM

        “(among those we could name are Inyan Merkazi, Arutz Sheva, Debka Files, Makor Rishon)”

        pressTV is not analogious to ANY of those. none of those are state owned\operated.

        “Need I continue”

        please do.

        “smug superiority complex”

        ehem. mirror. kettle. pot. dark color.

        • Richard Silverstein December 20, 2012, 4:18 AM

          @herenot: Wow you posted the same comment at Ehem. Either you’re clairvoyant, the same person, or attended the same Hasbara Institute. Which is it?

      • ehem December 19, 2012, 4:24 AM

        PressTV is state owned. the 5 other outlets you mentioned, are not.

        • Richard Silverstein December 20, 2012, 4:16 AM

          A distinction without a difference. The two nations’ media is totally different. Most media in Iran is state-sponsored. Very little private independent journalism there so much harder to have any media that isn’t state sponsored in some way. Besides, are you saying I can find idiotic anti-Iranian crap on state sponsored Israeli TV?

    • SimoHurtta December 20, 2012, 5:13 AM

      Actually the claims in the article you linked are made by Michael Harris and the story is written by Gordon Duff, both pure US citizens and obviously not Muslims. Iranians only gave them a forum to express their view.
      Under the article is the text:
      The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Press TV.

      Herenot it is crazy to assume that only Israel is allowed to make and/or is capable to make propaganda.

      A couple of days ago in PressTv was an article about David Albright, that guy who constantly publishes articles with satellite photos about Syrian nuclear power stations and Iranian “bombs” through his ISIS. ISIS claims to be

      The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is a non-profit, non-partisan institution dedicated to informing the public about science and policy issues affecting international security. Its primary focus is on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology to other nations and terrorists, bringing about greater transparency of nuclear activities worldwide, strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, and achieving deep cuts in nuclear arsenals.

      That PressTv article by Jim Dean (also US citizen and propably Christian, not Iranian and a Muslim) tells us that David Albright has an Israeli passport, has a condominium in Haifa and gets a VIP treatment in Israel. A neutral expert or an Israeli undercover propagandist? Albright doesn’t mention his bindings to Israel when publishes his constant reports, which makes him WHAT?

      Israeli “system” has always a “celebration” if it manages to feed to western media some more or less baseless horror story of Iranian (or Syrian or Iraqi or Pakistani etc) “nukes” and “WMDs”. The normal route is
      A) anonymous diplomats, intelligence experts, etc (guess from where) give ” interviews” and/or data to some “trusted and loyal” western media
      B) at once after the first article all Israeli media begins to quote that story and make it “bigger” as presenting it as a “western” view
      C) then (sometimes) it becomes international news.

      Why should Iranians hesitate to publish negative information about Israel when Israel all the time produces propaganda against Iran? Same moral standards should be demanded from both sides.

  • moshfeq December 20, 2012, 3:31 AM

    For whatever it’s worth, this recent BBC Persian article reports as follows:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2012/12/121216_alireza-asgari_ahmadi-moghadam_prison.shtml

    On 12/16/12 Iran’s police chief, Brigadier Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, stated that Asgari had been imprisoned in Iran for a period of at least 15 months, but that ultimately none of the charges against him were proven. The police chief did not specify the time of the arrest or the charges and denied that Asgari had defected, but lamented that some Iranian officials cast doubt on Asgari having been abducted. The chief and Asgari’s wife have criticized the Iranian government’s lack of serious investigation of Asgari’s case. Two years ago, Hossein Alaei, a former IRGC commander, had complained that had Asgari not been arrested while doing service and not prematurely retired, he would have probably had a different fate. Also 2 years ago, Martin Nesirky, UN’s Secretary-General spox, had stated that questions regarding Asgari’s situation should be directed to UNHCR, suggesting that he considered it a refugee issue.

    [Note that if you search for terms such as “Alireza Asgari Iran imprisonment” in English, you’ll get a lot of hits regarding the recent arrest of a labor activist of the same name, unrelated to the present topic.]

  • Rorr December 22, 2012, 12:32 PM

    You make it sound like snatching Eichmann was a bad thing. Do you really believe that?

    • Richard Silverstein December 22, 2012, 2:49 PM

      I didn’t make it “sound” like anything. You read into it what you thought, which is far different. Of course, Eichmann deserved justice. But I think it was a mistake for Israel to try him itself. This should’ve happened via an international tribunal. But if that was impracticable I would’ve favored trial in Israel. As to kidnapping him, given that Argentina at the time would’ve never agreed to extradition, I think his kidnapping was a grey area.

      But the problem is that Eichmann’s kidnapping gave Mossad carte blanche to use kidnapping as a tool in other far less justified circumstances like the ones I listed.

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