Column Looks at Notorious Terrorist Who Benefits in Iran Nuclear Deal
Part of the Iran nuclear agreement includes the removal of Western sanctions on individual terrorists, such as notorious Lebanese assassin Anis Naccache.
In a column published in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Hooman Bakhtiar revisits Naccache’s role in leading a 1975 terrorist mission taking 11 OPEC oil ministers hostage in Vienna. The assault was ordered by the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal.
As a close friend of slain Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyeh, Naccache also facilitated Iran’s terrorist operations in the Mediterranean.
Bakhtiar recalls how Naccache attempted to kill his great uncle, and Iran’s last prime minister under the Shah’s rule, Shapour Bakhtiar.
As a liberal reformer, Bakhtiar requested that Ayatollah Khomeini refrain from establishing a theocracy after the Shah was overthrown. That call signed Bakhtiar’s death sentence.
Five Lebanese, Iranian, and Palestinian assassins under Naccache’s leadership posed as journalists dispatched to interview Shapour Bakhtiar, intending to kill him.
But the plot failed after the assassins killed a police officer and mistakenly executed an elderly French woman in a neighboring apartment. Naccache and three assassins were caught after an ensuing gunfight with French police. They were convicted of murder and received life sentences in 1982.
Iran subsequently unleashed a terrorist campaign to secure Naccache’s release, including a string of deadly bombings in Paris during the 1980s, while ordering Heznollah to kidnap 16 French citizens in Lebanon. The Islamic Republic’s strategy worked and France released Naccache to Tehran in 1990.
In 1991, another group of assassins eventually killed the former Iranian prime minister in Paris.
In 2008, the European Union sanctioned Naccache and his business, Bazargani Tejarat Tavanmand Saccal, due to his involvement in Iran’s nuclear proliferation operations, not his terrorist past.
Now, Naccache and several other Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders will be removed from the EU sanctions list. Many of these individuals were responsible for killing Iranian dissidents, American personnel in Iraq, and civilians in other countries.
In a 2008 interview with Iran’s Fars News Agency, Naccache showed no remorse over the Bakhtiar assassination plot.
“There has been no change in my line of thinking. I stand by everything I have done in the past. If I had the experience I have now, I would have changed the planning of the plot to kill Bakhtiar. We were pressed for time, and we rushed to kill him, causing missteps along the way,” said Naccache.
Critics of the Iran nuclear deal assert that the agreement does nothing to alleviate concerns surrounding Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions and global terrorist activities. Relieving known Iranian-led terrorist leaders from stringent financial and diplomatic pressure only reinforces those concerns.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.