Another Suspicious Assassination and the Need for an Independent Fact-Finding Commission
The Iranian media’s method of disseminating information about the assassination of a Tehran University physics professor has created serious concerns about the nature of this murder and the police’s investigation of the case. From the very first hours that news of this incident was announced, state media outlets including Fars News Agency, IRNA, IRIB, ISNA, and Kayhan Newspaper have announced it as a crime committed by foreign countries and Iranian opposition groups, without the proper investigation necessary for a case of this magnitude. In the beginning, official media announced that an Iranian nuclear scientist had been assassinated, accusing the governments of the US and UK of the crime.Only a few hours after the incident it became clear that the victim was a physics professor and was not involved in Iran’s nuclear program in either a research or a professional capacity. Furthermore, while pro-government web sites referred to Mr. Ali Mohammadi as a “revolutionary professor,” “committed to Islamic Revolution,” terms used for describing pro-government individuals, it turned out that he had been a supporter of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who recently wrote a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader, criticizing current state of affairs.
Among Iranian authorities, Ali Larijani, Parliament Speaker went as far as announcing the US responsible for this murder, despite the fact that judiciary and police authorities had announced their lack of leads about the perpetrators. Larijani addressed Barack Obama: “I am very sorry for you for all that remain of those claims of humanity and change are faces of war mongering regressive and terrorist attacks.” Larijani warned US president: “You know too well that such filthy actions are easy to carry out from an operational viewpoint, but you have chosen a bad fate for yourself at the end of this adventurism, practically promoting terrorist activities.”
The well-coordinated campaign by pro-government media and quick positioning of government authorities to put foreign countries at fault for a terrorist act in which no suspects have been arrested yet or even named suggest that such actions are purely political.
Observing the investigation process in this terrorist act, International Campaign for Human rights in Iran is concerned that the similarities between this case and several blind assassinations during the 1980’s, as well as several suspicious murders during the past few months may be indicative of a new project for creating public insecurity and eliminating the opposition by segments of Iran’s security and information organizations. Believing that such terrorist attacks, if not unique, are rare events, ICHR recommends the following steps to reduce doubts:
1. Conducting independent investigations to identify and arrest those who ordered and those who carried out this crime.
2. Conducting an independent investigation into the murder of Seyed Ali Mousavi, nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi.
3. Considering the Iranian Judiciary’s inability to investigate the bomb incident at Ayatollah Khomeini Shrine, to investigate this terrorist act which could have led to deaths of civilians.
4. Delegating files of post-elections murders such as the case of Neda Agha Soltan in which those responsible have not been identified yet, to an independent fact finding commission to include representatives from the families of victims, representatives from distinguished human rights attorneys, and members of civil society.
The Iranian government must not forget that calling foreign countries such as US and UK responsible for the scores of various murders which have taken place on Tehran streets post-elections cannot be sufficient in responding to a public outcry for justice, and cannot excuse the Iranian government and Judiciary from the responsibility of finding the culprits of these crimes. The Iranian Judiciary’s inability to identify street murderers will only increase general concern that these are planned and guided acts of violence.