Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Iran’s Presidential Candidates: Two Are Terrorist Suspects, One Boasts of Beating Students

by Elliott Abrams
May 24, 2013


The disqualification of most of the men who sought to run in Iran’s presidential election has left a narrow field distinguished by allegations of involvement in terrorism and repression.

Both Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati are thought to have been involved in planning and approving 1994 attack on the Jewish community’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, an act of terror that killed 85 people. Rezai was the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at the time of the attack and Velayati was Minister of Foreign Affairs. There is actually an Interpol warrant, a “Red Notice,” out for Rezai.

A July 20, 2009 Congressional resolution, H. Con. Res 156, notes that:

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina, an office created by the Government of Argentina, concluded that the AMIA bombing was ‘decided and organized by the highest leaders of the former government of * * * Iran, whom, at the same time, entrusted its execution to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah’;

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina concluded that the AMIA bombing had been approved in advance by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i, Iran’s then-leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and Iran’s then-Minister of Security and Intelligence Ali Fallahijan…

It’s worth adding that another leading candidate, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, has boasted of his role in the violent suppression of internal dissent:

I was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force at the time. Photographs of me are available showing me on back of a motor bike, with Hossein Khaleqi, beating them [the protestors] with wooden sticks….I was among those carrying out beatings on the street level and I am proud of that. I didn’t care I was a high ranking commander.

Then there is Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator since 2007, and whom the Washington Post describes as inflexible, ideological, and anti-American.

Those who believe that this election will lead to reforms inside Iran, or to a weakening of the regime’s nuclear weapons program or its support for terror, are substituting hope for evidence.

Post a Comment 8 Comments

  • Posted by hue manne

    So we are aghast at presidential candidates being suspected criminals, are we?

    Were we equally aghast at the litany of confirmed criminal heads-of-states our own “freedom-loving countries” have long supported, propped-up, fought for, and lavished with military & financial aid? . . . e.g. Menachem Begin, Anastasio Samoza, Manuel Noriega, Ariel Sharon, Augusto Pinochet, Suharto, Zia ul-Haq, Reza Pahlevi, Ferdinand Marcos, Saddam Hussein, etc.

    A long tradition and a habitual practice of double-standards never sits comfortably whilst pontificating.

  • Posted by louis

    And your point is…..?
    Your list is noticeably absent of any Arab dictators who we support.
    And among your choices, the Shah of Iran was probably the lesser of two evils as compared to the murderous theocracy that replaced him, and classifying Sharon as a ‘criminal’ is a stretch, not to mention the fact that Morsi has arguably degraded what he inherited from Mubarak.

  • Posted by hue


    The point IS made in the last sentence.

    An Arab dictator IS included, viz. Saddam Hussein and i’d be happy to add more, for example Mubarak as you’ve already inferred, plus others you might think of which i’d probably agree with too!

    ‘Lesser of two evils’ is arguable.

    And, Sharon as ‘criminal’ IS NOT a stretch by any means.

  • Posted by masood ghofraniha

    do not forget REZA MORIDI iranian rejim rep.ontario M.P.

  • Posted by Polly T.

    Interesting that Rafsanjani is one of those allegedly “implicated” in planning of the AMIA bombing in Argentina. Rafsanjani did not make the list of those being allowed to run for the presidency of Iran, but that is being depicted in the mainstream media as further proof of the regime’s oppressive nature. If Rafsanjani were a candidate, Abrams would have had THREE “terrorist suspects” to complain about.

  • Posted by Aksalla All Boom

    Go Iran vote for me thank China and Russia for helping with your nuclear program for me

  • Posted by Aksalla All Boom

    I wonder what you guys are up to hmm oh I forgot to mention North Korea sneaking you weapons and information.They call it terroriziom I call it war .Saeed looks good to me.The Shaw is’nt going to live forever

  • Posted by John el-amin

    There would not be any ” terrorism” if Europeans and Americans held their racism and greed in check. The Berlin Conference, Plan Dalet, The Grand Area, Operation Ajax, etc. , all hatched and carried out by the rovin seriel killers in search of world domination. How can they extol the virtues of peace where they have no desire, ability or e perience in doing so ? Staying at home works wonders.Type your comment in here…

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