Regime intelligence agents in France unmasked
The Iran Brief, Issue Number 31, dated 2/5/97,Serial 3112
Copyright © 1994-97, by the Middle East Data Project, Inc.
In an unusual public move, the Organization of the People's Fedaii Guerrillashas revealed the identities of fourteen individuals it claims are intelligenceagents of the Islamic Republic operating in France. The group says it tookthe move after waiting a year for the French authorities to take effectivemeasures to circumscribe the activities of the alleged agents, whose nameswere handed over the French early last year. When the French did nothing,the group decided to publish the list.
The group claims the fourteen agents are only part of the regime's"vast intelligence network in France... Other regime agents in Franceare carrying out their missions under commercial cover, and sometimes poseas opponents of the regime, in order to infiltrate cultural and artisticgroups."
The group identified the fourteen alleged agents as follows:
- Mojiri (aka Madjidi), is the head of SAVAMA operations in France andworks out of the Iranian embassy in Paris. He coordinates regime agentsand organizes operations. He is also in charge of arms purchasing and othersecret procurement operations for the regime, and prepares all reportingto Tehran on SAVAMA activities.
- Nateq: head of the office of the Iranian ambassador
- Ali Asghar Salehi, head of the Behnam company in Paris. One of themost important SAVAMA agents in France, he is in direct contact with Tehran.He is responsible for transmitting information to Tehran on oppositionorganizations, and reports to Jafar Jalali. A few years ago, before thechange in French policy against the opposition, Jalali was expelled fromFrance and declared persona non grata until the year 2006.
- ----- [identity withheld for security reasons]. This person is in chargeof the movements of intelligence personnel as well as undercover surveillanceagents who travel on Iran Air flights. When they arrive in France, theseagents are authorized to leave the airport while the aircraft remains onthe ground. They can thus easily carry out terrorist operations, then returnto the airport and leave France as members of the flight crew.
- Mohsen Assadollahi works as a lawyer. In recent years, he has obtainedresident alien status for numerous Iranians, including several requestsfor political asylum. In so doing, Assadollahi gained the confidence ofIranians living in France. In recent years, he has entered a business relationshipwith several agents of the regime. Influenced by them, Assadollahi hasreturned to Iran with a list of names of all his clients seeking permanentresident status or political asylum. Before leaving, however, he gave thissame list to the Iranian embassy in Paris. He traveled to Tehran accompaniedby one of the known agents of the regime in France. In Tehran, he met withMohsen Hashemi-Rafsanjani, son of the President, in the office of the President.Assadollahi also met in Tehran with the head of the Bonyad-e Mostazafan,Mohsen Rafiq-doust, to discuss a large loan from French banks for the Foundation.
- Mohammad Namdari Kazerouni, who works under cover as a courier forthe Paris branch of the Bank Sepah.
- Djada. A carpet merchant working near the Place de la Républiquein Paris, Djada is one of the confidants of the Iranian ambassador to Paris.He maintains close ties to the International and Legal departments at theembassy, and using an intermediary supplies Mojiri with information onother Iranian carpet merchants.
- ---- [identity withheld for security reasons]. In charge of purchasingon behalf of the Ministry of Defense.
- Zafaranlou. The former director of the Paris branch of the Bank Tejarat.Following exposure of his role by the Organization of the People's FedaiiGuerrillas last year, he was recalled to Tehran.
- Amini: Advisor at the Paris branch of the Bank Tejarat.
- Kachi: Passport officer at Iranian consulate in Paris. Following the1979 revolution, he became a follower and close associate of AyatollahKhalkhali, known as the "butcher of Tehran" because he orderedthe execution of hundreds of persons associated with the former regime.
- Ghyassi: a member of the Iranian consulate in Paris, in charge of theMaison d'Iran on the Champs Elysée.
- ----- [identity withheld for security reasons]. In charge of officialtravel by regime officials in France, and a key figure in the regime'sclandestine financial and commercial activities in France.
- Ms. Laleh Moein, director of Limo SARL, a company used for the clandestineprocurement of military equipment, including spare parts from Israel forIranian fighter aircraft. She also infiltrated the People's Mujahidin Organizationof Iran (MEK), and was sent by SAVAMA to the group's main base in Iraqfollowing an Iranian Air Force bombardment, to determine whether MassoudRajavi had survived the raid.
The Islamic Republic has frequently relied on the foreign branches ofits state-controlled banks to place intelligence agents and to financeterrorist operations. In Germany, for instance, the most prominent is BankMelli, which regularly advertises in the exile press to attract Iranianbusiness. Bank Melli maintains branches in Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf.