from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

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

May 24, 2013

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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.

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