The courageous verdict handed down today by a Berlin court against theassassins of Iranian Kurdish dissident leader Sadegh Sharafkindi and threecolleagues in September 1992 has provided striking new confirmation ofthe Islamic Republic's use of terrorism as a tool of state policy, andshould convince Europe to abandon its policy of so-called "critical"dialogue with Tehran.
It should also convince oil companies and their surrogates in the UnitedStates and elsewhere that the Islamic Republic government is unfit fornormal commerce. Big-name lobbyists, working on behalf of the oil companiesand the Tehran regime, have attempted to paint the regime in a favorablelight over the past few months, in an effort to get U.S. sanctions againstIran lifted so they can build lucrative pipelines for Caspian Sea oil.Despite the outstanding reputation of some of those involved, their behaviorsuggests they become little more than paid mercenaries doing the handiworkof a terrorist regime.
The sentence: After a three-year trial, the Berlin court gave life sentenceswithout parole to Kazem Darabi, an Iranian national identified by the courtas an Iranian government intelligence agent, and the Lebanese trigger man,Abbas Rhayel. Prison terms of 5 to 11 years were given to two other membersof the hit team as well.
But the most important conclusions of the court were contained in thesentencing memorandum read out by the judge. In it, the court said thatevidence presented during the trial had proven beyond any reasonable doubtthat the murder had been ordered by a high-level "Committee for SpecialOperations" of the Iranian government leadership, comprised of thePresident, the Supreme Leader, the Foreign Minister, and the Minister ofInformation and Security. The memorandum identified the Minister of Informationand Security, Ali Fallahian, as the person who had supervised the logisticsof the operation. Indeed, the case will stay open since the court has issuedan international arrest warrant against Fallahian which remains in force.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran applauds the decision by the 15-memberstates of the European Union, announced today, to withdraw their ambassadorsfrom Tehran as a sign of disapproval. But Europe can do more.
¥ Europe should cease to provide preferential bank loans and exportcredit guarantees to the regime.
¥ Europe should halt trade by large industrial concerns which continueto supply the Islamic Republic's arms factories and oil fields with criticalparts and technology.
¥ Europe has a duty to dismantle Iranian government terrorist networksoperating on European soil under diplomatic cover and in so-called "Islamic"study centers and commercial organizations. Has the fact that "only"Iranians have been the victims of Tehran's terror made Europe loath todo so until now?
The Foundation calls on Europe and the United States to join togetherin encouraging the democratic opposition in Iran to forge an alternativeto the current regime in Tehran. A strong, free, and democratic Iran isthe best guarantor against terrorism.