Today, Iran paraded an Iranian alleged Mossad spy before a national TV audience. The man, who wasn’t named, made his show confession telling the audience how he planted a bomb that killed an Iranian scientist in Teheran last year. It was all so tedious, predictable and a sham. The poor shlub made a few errors which gave away the scripted confession and showed his Iranian torturers hadn’t done their homework in preparing his script.
He confessed to the following:
“There were two new men that I met [presumably in Iran], two Israeli officers who knew Hebrew perfectly,” the man told the camera. “We arrived at the airport in Tel Aviv and at passport control I was asked a question and since I didn’t know Hebrew it aroused the suspicion of the border agent.”
“At that moment, the person responsible for me came and presented a ticket, took my passport and we went a different way,” he said. “We exited Tel Aviv on the highway towards Jerusalem and after half an hour arrived at Mossad headquarters, which is located on the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.”
The man described…”Mossad headquarters”: A building surrounded by a 3-4 kilometer long wall and encircled by an electric fence.
A few glaring problems. First, I find it highly unlikely that there are any Israelis speaking impeccable Hebrew inside Iran. Second, I find it weird that a Mossad spy would go through passport control at Ben Gurion Airport. Why would he go through any public security check? Third, Mossad headquarters is not where the “spy” locates it. It is actually north of Tel Aviv in Herzliya, not south (in the direction of Jerusalem) as he claims. Fourth, the layout of the building doesn’t correspond to Mossad headquarters. Fifth, I don’t believe the Mossad would take the chance of bringing an Iranian spy to Israel for training. It just doesn’t make sense.
This is a sham operation meant to burnish the tarnished reputation of Iranian intelligence. It was done purely for domestic consumption and perhaps to warn Mossad. But these boobs couldn’t even do basic research to ensure their script hewed even marginally to well-known facts. As a result everyone and their brother now knows that this is a fraud.
In fact, it’s entirely possible that the Iranian regime killed Ali-Mohaamadi because, while at one time he had played a significant role in Iran’s nuclear program, he had turned against the Revolution and become a supporter of the Green Movement. Here is what noted Iran-watcher Muhammad Sahimi, with good sources inside Iran, has to say on the matter:
Tehran Bureau has obtained new information on the circumstances surrounding the murder of Professor Ali-Mohammadi…[It] reveals, in particular, that before changing his political views and becoming a supporter of Iran’s reformists and the Green Movement, Ali-Mohammadi, while not a nuclear physicist as claimed by the hardliners, was deeply involved with Iran’s nuclear program.
According to an informed source in Tehran who was Professor Ali-Mohammad’s friend and classmate, the day before his assassination, his house was searched by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. After his murder, his family was threatened with criminal arrest and prosecution if they made public any information about the search.
The same source in Tehran stated that after the fatal bomb explosion, neither the police, nor IRGC security agents, nor agents of the Ministry of Intelligence were dispatched to the explosion site to collect evidence. Instead, the debris from the explosion was simply swept away — peculiar in any circumstance, especially so given that the hardliners attribute the assassination to foreign agents.
…Ali-Mohammadi was extensively involved with the Institute for Applied Physics (IAP) at the Iran University of Science and Technology. In 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) publicized evidence that the IAP was a military-related institute…
The IAEA also asked Iran to clarify any possible role that IAP staff had played in testing high explosives and the design of a missile reentry vehicle. Questions were raised about the involvement of one particular IAP scientist in the development of exploding bridge wire and detonators, and procurement for borehole gamma spectrometers. Iran responded that the staff scientist had no involvement in the work related to the exploding bridge wire. In fact, the work and the instruments both have application in the oil industry, particularly in well logging, and are thus of dual use…
According to the source in Tehran, Professor Ali-Mohammad was for quite some time the head of the IAP, which is now defunct. During his tenure, he worked closely with Dr. Fereydoon Abbasi (also known as Abbasi Davani), a senior science official in Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics. Both Abbasi and Ali-Mohammadi were also instructors at Imam Hossein University, run on military brigade lines by the IRGC…
It is clear that, as the head of the IAP, Ali-Mohammadi had been involved in the procurement of dual-use technology. Those activities and his deep connections with Iran’s Defense Ministry and the military-run Imam Hossein University constitute solid evidence of his involvement in Iran’s nuclear program.
There is nothing a revolutionary hates more than a former trusted comrade who turns against it. In short, Mohammadi knew too much to be left alone. As a new recruit to the Green Movement, the regime couldn’t be sure what he might do with his former knowledge. He was too dangerous to live. If they killed him then it’s all the more imperative that they cover their tracks by blaming others for the crime.
I believe that it is highly likely that agents working on behalf of the Mossad and a domestic Iranian dissident groups assassinated other nuclear scientists who’ve died in the past two years. But those who killed them are long gone or long back in deep cover either outside or inside Iran. Iran hasn’t uncovered the perpetrators of the Mossad terror attacks. It’s identified a few patsies it could put up for the crimes.
The Iranian intelligence claims that it’s broken the back of Mossad terror inside Iran will be disproven the next time Jundallah or MKO mounts an attack on behalf of their collaborators in the Mossad. The Iranians are bargaining that neither their fellow citizens nor the rest of the world will remember their boasts today when that happens.
In case anyone reading this isn’t familiar with my previous writing on this subject, I deplore Mossad terror against Iran (just as I deplore any terror attacks against Israelis) as counter-productive and violations of international law. But I also deplore railroading innocent men for the crimes of others.
“But I also deplore railroading innocent men for the crimes of others.”
Richard, how do you know this man doesn’t belong to Jundallah or MKO?
Abdolmalek Rigi, the former leader of Jundallah also made a very similar rambling confession on Iran’s PressTV. Whether it was coerced or not or factual, he was neither railroaded nor innocent. He was in fact the leader of Jundallah and responsible for many terrorist acts even the bombing of a girls’ school and mosque in Iran.
The CIA provided intelligence and military assistance to Osama Bin-Laden and the Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
Israelis trained the Shah’s secret service Savak, that tortured and killed dissidents, and more recently provided the Kurds (PKK) with training as well:
In the wikileaks cables Dagan himself suggests using Iranian ethnic minorities “Balochis” i.e. Jundallah, MKO and the Kurds to incite chaos in Iran.
So whether this individual’s confession is based on a lie or a half-truth; it doesn’t necessarily mean he was not involved in terrorist acts and it doesn’t necessarily mean the group he belongs to isn’t receiving support from Mossad.
If these groups carried out these murders for Mossad, and attached those magnetic bombs to cars, aren’t they just as guilty as Mossad?
Richard Silverstein says
The fact is that you should punish a man for crimes he actually he committed not for ones you wish to attribute to him for your own political purposes. If he’s a domestic terrorist then charge him with what he really did & not an assassination with which he wasn’t involved. This is a bait & switch operation. They need a chump on which to pin the Mohammadi assassination so they pick up some shlump who did something else bad and pin the larger crime on him so they can kill two birds w. one stone. You “solve” the assassination & you get rid of what the regime considers a bad guy. I say it stinks.
YOu may’ve read this post before I added the material from Muhammad Sahimi, which I find compelling.
I did read that part later, regardless, the fact is that Ali-Mohammadi, according to your friend, appeared to be very much involved in Iran’s nuclear program, and while perhaps not involved in a nuclear weapons program, appeared to be involved in a “weapons” program that the IAEA was concerned about. No doubt Mossad knew this. The last paragraph of Sahimi’s analysis, in my opinion, presents a strong motive for Mossad wanting this scientist out of the way, in spite of his party affiliation, and perhaps relished the fact that the “greens” would try to pin it on the Iranian government.
Besides, Mossad is not infallible; they’ve blundered before by killing the wrong man. They could have stupidly killed this man out of some exaggerated sense of paranoia; he was in fact imparting his knowledge for the production of weaponry and he was “deeply” involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Why would Israelis care which political group he belongs to? Since when would that matter to them in getting rid of a weapons-creation brain? After all, Rafsanjani, who is the financial backer of the Green Movement was accused by Israel of the synagogue bombing in Argentina. Maybe they’d like to get their hands on him too. I doubt Mossad considers party affiliation more important than security motives when it chooses its target.
Was this scientist involved in espionage? Did he attempt to defect? Was he making moves that could classify him as a traitor to the Republic? Unless he did any of this why would he not be a valid target for Mossad?
I just don’t see this as a slam-dunk hypothesis. And whether or not this individual told Iranian interrogators what they wanted to hear and not necessarily the truth is another question, but the fact is, that if he belongs to Jundallah or some other group involved in terrorist acts; he’s not “innocent”. There may be a question mark regarding his statement, but that’s secondary to the fact that as a terrorist he was involved in the killing of people and therefore who cares if he implicates Mossad; Mossad is hardly INNOCENT either, and is responsible for other deaths inside Iran; even if you doubt they killed this particular scientist.
So this guy is hardly ‘innocent’ either, and while the truth matters to me; when it comes to Mossad, I’d like to see them railroaded right out of Iran! Neither you nor I know the real truth here, but if I’m mistaken; I prefer to err against Mossad. To me the greater evil is what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and to Iran, and the new war it’s trying to provoke in Lebanon.
I just want to throw in this analogy, because it kind of fits this incident. Perhaps, Mossad inadvertently did Iran a favor by getting rid of this scientist, just like the U.S. reluctantly did Iran a favor by getting rid of Saddam Hussein and going after Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
There are people inside Iran who speak impeccable Hebrew. A little birdy told me that there was an ancient Torah recently donated to the Malek Gallery in Mashad. Why would you assume this henchman knows exactly where he was headed in Israel? Or why would Mossad make it easy for him to realize where the HQ was? Professor Sahimi is a friend of yours, which makes it mutual now for me, but respectfully, does he forget that Moussavi was one of the chosen candidates? The “Green” was an IRI invention and hijacked by all sorts of dissident groups, some fringe like the MKO, who are tightly knit with terror, Islamo-Marxism, and… Our US State Department. How about something owned by real Iranians? The Shahnameh Resurgence is not a threat to anyone willing to reform under the principle that the R in IRI stands for Republic.
When criticizing the government, is truth so weak a concept that it must be done away with for a fiction that eliminates hope for Iranians? It’s fact that Mossad outsources terror operations inside Iran. This man is likely one of those outsourced, yet clueless about several aspects of his employment — Mossad would likely keep it that way. His confession rejected publicly like this may expose the lack of value in the information revealed and give the government a good reason to do away with him after he confessed to the operation. Just food for thought — and please dont shoot the messenger.
Richard Silverstein says
Oh I have little doubt that the man’s life is over no matter what I write about him. He’s prob. doomed for hanging since the mullahs are so enthusiastic about this form of punishment. And no doubt they promised to spare his life if he went through with this charade. But he was prob. wrong to believe in them if that’s what happened. They won’t spare him.
The man specifically said he was taken to Mossad HQ & said where it was located. Either he didn’t know what he was talking about, has never been to Israel, or was scripted. I think all 3 are likely. Show trials are far too common in Iran for me to believe that this man is guilty of what he’s being charged with. He may indeed be a dissident. He may have done something that caused him to be arrested (you don’t have to do much for this to happen to you in Iran). But that he killed Mohammadi? Nah.
I think some of that is mis characterized in the press, and truthfully, not all that different than the policies of America insofar as Homeland Security is concerned. Title 18 USC 2339A-B provide catch-alls and leave you little recourse, often for years. Maybe they’ll let you off on a nice island somewhere after over a decade — if that country accepts you. Or maybe just a prison in Poland where no one hears from you again (and a media apparatus to characterize you as whatever they want).
I am, of course, not blaming you for anything. You are a journalist and neither possess the ill will nor the mechanism by which to carry out any misdeed towards human life.
Richard do you have ANY evidence for your assertions in this piece?
Could be that Mossad does not show its headquarters to spies but brings them to other places and telling them it is the headquarter?
As for Muhammad Sahimi being a “green”. There is nothing but an anonymous source claiming such.
How do you explain the other murder cases of nuclear specialists? Are they all “killed by the regime” (which is by the way an elected government)?
Richard Silverstein says
You’re confusing people. Muhammad Sahimi is a USC professor in L.A. Ali Mohammadi is the Iranian nuclear scientist who was assassinated. Sahimi has a well-placed Iranian source confirming the bit about Mohammadi’s turn to the Greens. I never doubt Muhammad. He’s never wrong. I’ve written here about the other killings. I believe they were murdered by internal dissidents likely w. Mossad assisstance.
Oh then apologies to the Professor. I stand duly corrected and hope he will forgive me.
oops the thread looked different last time I looked at it and replied to the incorrect comment.
Whether or not Iran has broken the Mossad terror network inside their country, does anyone really think Iran will long tolerate the killing of its scientists without replying in kind?
Richard’s statement that Muhammad Sahimi is “never wrong” seriously undermines the credibility of this blog as a source. Sahimi at Tehran Bureau was a key figure in spreading the story that the June 2009 presidential election in Iran had been stolen by a massive fraud in which the Ministry of the Interior had simply erased the original results showing a victory for Mousavi. Subsequent analyses showed this to have been a hoax: see the detailed analysis by Eric Brill.
Richard Silverstein says
Gimme a break. You don’t provide any proof of yr claim whatsoever. No analyses show a claim that the election was a fraud to be a hoax & it’s you who have no credibility. The analyses show that it is possible that Ahmadinejad did win the election. Many distinguished observers believed the charge that the election was a fraud including those within Iran. Sahimi was not alone in this. No one has proven beyond a doubt that there were not massive irregularities. But it does seem likely that Ahmadinejad could’ve won the election outright.
There were massive amounts of fraud & intimidation fr. the gov’t side so the results weren’t generally free & fair. And we all see the results after the election.
Sahimi didn’t just allege that there were “irregularities” in the election, he reported that the Ministry of the Interior had faked the result at national level after its aggregation of local counts had shown a Mousavi victory. A few days later the counts for each of the 45000 ballot boxes were published, each signed off by local observers including Mousavi’s representatives. This doesn’t exclude possible irregularities at local level, but it does exclude the story reported as fact by Sahimi.
Richard Silverstein says
A lot of people said a lot of things in the heat of the moment after the election that proved to be exaggerations (including the mullahs themselves). Given that Iran conducts so much in secret it was hard to know what was going on. If Sahimi was wrong (& I’m not conceding he was) so was almost everyone else. Were you the only one who was right?
Ali Ahmad says
As an Arab, I’m well used to those stale theatrical performances by the Iranian Regime. If you can remember all the way back to the early and mid 80’s, they also aired on TV the “confessions” of members of Iran’s Todeh Party (communist party), after they were persecuted and sidelined by the hardline Islamist shill that is ruling Iran now. It’s leader Ehsan Tabari, was also put in a similar position, where he was tarred and feathered with humiliating questions, and whatever answer they wanted, they got out of him (most likely at gun point!).
one by one, members of the party were brought in for televised, “round table” discussions, to “confess” and “admit” their “collaboration with Zionists” or “imperialists”. And while I’m no communist sympathizer, I would argue that not a single shred of evidence was presented at those “discussions”. NOT ONE!
Most of us Arab shi’is at the time, however, intoxicated with Khomeini’s righteousness, drank the Mullahs’ kool aid, and believed them. Nowadays, however, whenever I see another theatrical charade, where the “convict” is a “admitting” and “confessing” to “treason” and “relationship to Zionism”, I just Roll my eyes!, and wonder where the hell is the proof?!
You don’t need proof when there’s a crowd thirsty for allegations. I see it all the time here in Israel. If you’ve been following the recent events concerning the suggested inquiry into Israeli human rights NGOs and the surrounding allegations, you’ll see what I mean. Im Tirtzu throws allegations of collaboration with the “Arab enemy” and “relationship with hostile entities” without any proof, and the inflamed masses believe it.
I fully agree with you Richard.The Iranians would never make public a mossad suspected assasination. They are at the moment very paranoiac about the matter. They found a reason to get rid of scientists that were not “politically reliable” or were suspected in sharing information with the IAEA. Also the case of Shahram Amiri is very questinable and is probably another fraud. I guess the truth is very secret at the moment.