Diario Judío México - Some analysts have expressed doubt that the Iranian government was involved in a recently uncovered plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. Skeptics have questioned whether the Iranian regime would participate in such a scheme carried out by non-intelligence professionals and have even suggested that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was “set up ” and knew nothing about the conspiracy.

But Roya Hakakian, author of a book about Tehran’s transnational terror campaign against dissidents, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the alleged plot bears striking parallels to an earlier crime committed by the Islamist regime: the September 1992 massacre of four Kurdish dissidents at Mykonos restaurant in Berlin.

One of the Mykonos shooters was Abdulrahman Bani-Hashemi, an Iranian hit man. Hashemi (who flew to Turkey later that night before boarding a bus and escaping into Iran) had assassinated an Iranian exile in Switzerland in 1989. The following year, he was arrested and briefly held by Swedish authorities after attempting to kill the Saudi ambassador there.

Several weeks after the Mykonos slayings, German authorities arrested one Iranian and “a ring of small time Lebanese crooks” in connection with the attack, Hakakian wrote. Iranian Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian tried unsuccessfully to persuade German authorities to derail the legal proceedings in the Mykonos case.

During the trial, which lasted nearly four years, an Iranian intelligence official defected. He testified that Tehran had a list containing 500 “enemies of Islam” who were targeted for death. In 1997, five men – four Lebanese and an Iranian – were convicted of the Mykonos murders. The trial judge found that Khamenei and Fallahian were among those who ordered the killings.

Interpol has issued a warrant for Fallahian’s arrest in connection with the Mykonos case and several other assassinations ordered by the Iranian government.

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Stephen Schwartz notes that Iran has an extensive history of carrying out political murders in the West dating back to the 1979 revolution. These include the 1980 killing of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, who had been an Iranian Embassy press attaché under the Shah. As in the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, the man who gunned down Tabatabai at his Bethesda, Md. home on July 22, 1980 was no intelligence professional. David Belfield, a security guard at an Iranian diplomatic facility in Washington, carried out the hit and successfully fled to Iran, where he currently lives.

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Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Emerson and his staff frequently provide briefings to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, members of Congress and congressional committees, and print and electronic media, both national and international. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum.

Emerson is the author or co-author of six books on terrorism and national security, including:

  • Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. (Prometheus, 2006)
  • American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (The Free Press, 2002)
  • Terrorist: The Inside Story of the Highest-Ranking Iraqi Terrorist Ever to Defect to the West (Villard Books /Random House, 1991)
  • The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation (Putnam's Sons, 1990)
  • Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era (Putnam's Sons, 1988)
  • The American House of Saud: The Secret Petrodollar Connection (Franklin Watts, 1985)

He and his organization have been quoted or profiled in hundreds of newspaper and television stories since 9-11.

Emerson launched The Investigative Project on Terrorism in late 1995, following the broadcast of his documentary film, "Jihad in America," on public television. The film exposed clandestine operations of militant Islamic terrorist groups on American soil. For the film, Emerson received numerous awards including the George Polk Award for best television documentary, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism. He also received the top prize from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Organization (IRE) for best investigative report in both print and television for the documentary. The award from IRE was the fourth he had received from that group. The documentary, which was featured on 60 Minutes, has become standard viewing for federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations.

Emerson is recognized as one of the first terrorism experts to have testified and warned about the threat of Islamic militant networks operating in the United States and their connections worldwide. In a pioneering congressional testimony delivered in 1998, he specifically warned about the threat of Osama Bin Laden's network. Nearly every one of the terrorist suspects and groups first identified in his 1994 film have been indicted, convicted, or deported since 9-11.