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Friday, June 8, 2007

Top Iranian security official wanted for 1989 assassination in Vienna

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Jafari
A warrant was issued for the arrest of a senior Iranian official who has represented his government on official trips to Iraq and Egypt this year.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Jafari, the powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council and a senior member of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is still being sought in connection with a 1989 assassination in Vienna.

Jafari was part of the formal Iranian government delegation that participated in a conference this spring on Iraq in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt.

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In January, a major U.S. military operation sought to capture him in Irbil, Iraq according to reports in the London Independent and the Washington Post.

The Post reported: "In January, the United States again targeted two high-ranking Iranians, including Gen. Minojahar Frouzanda, the Revolutionary Guard intelligence chief, and Mohammed Jafari, deputy head of Iran's National Security Council, U.S. officials say. They eluded capture."

Photo of Jafari in a Vienna hospital after assassination incident.
Jafari was a suspected member of the Iranian assassination team that killed Abdul Rahman Qassemlou, leader of the Iranian-Kurdistan Democratic Party on July 13, 1989, in a Vienna apartment, according to an arrest warrant issued at the time in Austria.

The Austrian government allowed Jafari to return to Iran after being injured and hospitalized during the incident.

The Kurds in Vienna had been in negotiation with a delegation representing Iran's regime. The warrant for Jafari's arrest is still active, opposition sources said.

"By sending a notorious terrorist like Jafari to the most prominent international gathering like the meeting in Sharm el Sheik, the clerical regime clearly showed that for them negotiations and diplomacy are only tools to facilitate their terrorist objectives," said Shahin Gobadi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian opposition group.

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