Raymond Tanter

The Daily Telegraph studied these documents and stated, “An Iranian diplomat that America is refusing to accept as Tehran’s next ambassador to the United Nations was implicated in the death of an Iranian dissident in Rome in the 1990s, court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal.” Moreover, The London newspaper asked the Iran’s foreign ministry for a response but to no avail.

The first document states, “The [assassination] team had a direct connection with the [former] diplomatic representative in Italy, and in particular with Ambassador Aboutalebi.” The Second states, “Aboutalebi and Naghdi had known each other since the 1979 revolution,” which is why Aboutalebi led the team.

Until defecting in 1981, Naghdi had been chargé d’affaires in Rome and Tehran’s highest-ranking diplomat in Italy before Aboutalebi, who had been Iran’s ambassador in Rome from 1988 to 1992.

Based on such reports in 2003 Aboutalebi was temporarily banned from entering the Schengen Area, as a recognized crime suspect. The Government of Senegal declared him an undesirable element and forced him to leave while Aboutalebi was a part of the Iranian delegation.

Having a record of taking part in kidnapping of American diplomats during the 1979 Revolution in Iran is evidence that Aboutalebi is a national security threat to the United States in 2014—grounds for not issuing a visa, as stated in the legislation signed by President Obama.

Add evidence from reports of the Italian Police that Aboutalebi coordinated terrorist activities in a State where he had been performing official duties, and he is a threat to international security.

Just as American analysts identified an Iranian hit team in the Italian assassination, the April 30 release of the Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 highlighted “a resurgence of activity by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard[s] Corps’ Qods Force [QF].” Operatives of QF coordinated attacks against Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty, Iraq. As Washington stood firm in the Aboutalebi case, it needs to use diplomatic pressure on Baghdad to safeguard the Iranian dissidents whom America promised to protect.


Raymond Tanter

Raymond Tanter served on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. His latest book is "Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents."