The Consortium

Germany Charges Iran's Spymaster in Murders

Germany is finally cracking down on alleged Iranian assassination teams which have terrorized opponents of Teheran's Islamic government across Europe for years. Bonn issued a surprise arrest warrant for Ali Fallahyan, the chief of Iranian intelligence, touching off an international war or words with Iran.

German prosecutors announced that they want to arrest the Iranian spymaster on charges that he is responsible for the murders of four Iranian opposition figures at the Berlin restaurant Myconos in 1992. All four were gunned down by Fallahyan's agents, the Germans claim.

One of the alleged killers, Iranian Kazem Darabi, is now on trial in Berlin. But Iran has indicated that it has no intention to turn over Fallahyan, who is also Teheran's "minister of information." Indeed, the government of President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reacted angrily to the arrest warrant for Fallahyan. As retaliation, Teheran has threatened to expose "the crimes of Western politicians" during the Shah's quarter century reign which ended in 1979.

Iran's Ambassador to Germany, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, warned the German government that the accusations against Iran could have grave consequences for German-Iranian relations. But Germany has apparently decided to stand up to what it believes is a long-running campaign of violence against Iranian dissidents, even if that means putting at risk Germany's historically close -- and profitable -- ties to Iran.

The BKA, the German Federal Bureau of Investigation, accuses Iran of using its embassy in Bonn to organize not only the Berlin assassinations, but also the killings of other Iranian opposition figures in Europe. According to the BKA, Iran has murdered 33 dissidents on the Continent since 1980.

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