First, Turkey itself must answer for all the Iranian blood on its hands

By Banafsheh Zand for TheFreeIranian

October 20, 2018

During its 40-year reign, the Khomeiniist regime has turned Turkey – which has willfully gone along at every turn – into a staging ground for its extensive intelligence operations. The main aim has been to conduct surveillance and threaten opponents of Tehran’s regime, who have fled Iran and, due to a paucity of options, have had to take asylum in Turkey.

Iran’s pressure on its opponents in Turkey has been applied in various ways. For over three decades, opponents of the ruling Shia clergy have stressed that Turkey has given Tehran license to kidnap or kill its opponents on Turkish soil. This has continued even during periods where Tehran-Ankara’s relations were dicey. It is natural, then, that a large number of Tehran’s intelligence agents have opponents, such as political and human rights activists, in their sights.

Some of Tehran’s intelligence activities against asylum seekers and political opponents are accomplished through the marked infiltration of agents into the enclaves of refugee activists. Despite the publication of numerous reports of the disappearance of Iranian refugees on Turkish soil, only a few cases have been taken by the Turkish government against Iran’s intelligence agencies and their agents. Izmir is said to be the hub for Tehran’s agents in Turkey. The Iranian consulate in Erzurum, close to the Iranian border is said to be the main center for holding those who have been kidnapped, prior to their re-entry into Iran.

The Khomeiniist regime’s intelligence agents and their operations in Turkey did not just stop at Iranian activists on Turkish soil, however. In 2013, Turkish media and various Turkish officials reported the details of the brutal murders of Sakîne Cansiz, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, three female Turkish activists, founders of the PKK, and the perpetrators behind this heinous crime were said to have been the regime in Iran and the Turkish government working together.

The following are facts surrounding only a handful of the long list of disappearances, abductions, and assassinations of opponents of the Khomeiniist regime in Turkey; a list, with details about many more victims, has also been provided at the end of this article. Two of the below highlighted cases are those of the kidnappings of two well-known Persian-language TV presenters. The fate of these two still remains unclear.

Foroud Fouladvand, was kidnapped in Turkey by agents of the Khomeiniist regime, in January 2007.

Foroud Fouladvand, (born Fath’ollah Manouchehri) an Iranian national who was granted refugee status in the United Kingdom, was founder and leader of the group Anjoman’eh Padeshahi’eh Iran (API), which campaigned for the restoration of the Iranian monarchy. API ran a modest but effective satellite channel entitled “Your TV” that had been operating in London, since 2002. On January 7, 2007, Fouladvand accompanied by two API supporters, Alexander Valizadeh (aka Kourosh Lor), an Iranian/ US citizen, and Nazem Schmidt (aka Simorgh), an Iranian/ German citizen, travelled to Turkey, where he had arranged to meet up with individuals who had pretended to be Iranians claiming to support API but who, in actual fact, turned out to be Tehran’s intelligence agents. A car that Fouladvand and his companions had rented in order to reach their meeting place with the phony refugees was later found abandoned, its windows broken and without its number plates. The three men were thought to have been kidnapped in Yüksekova, a district of Hakkari Province in Turkey , close to the Iranian border.

Amnesty International reported that Foroud Fouladvand may have likely been held in Tehran, in a detention center run by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The same report notes that he was charged with Harb (combatant against God), which is a crime punishable by death under the Khomeiniist regime’s Sharia law statutes. It is believed that he may have perished under interrogation and torture. There is no further information relating to the whereabouts of Alexander Valizadeh and Nazem Schmidt, or any trial proceedings relating to their cases, either.

Shayan Kaviani was kidnped from Turkey in fall 2011. 

Shayan Kaviani (born Asghar Kazemi), a supporter of Iran’s monarchy, was a popular TV presenter who, over the years, expressed his views on L.A. based Persian-language TV networks. A naturalized American, in the fall of 2011, he traveled to Turkey, where he was kidnapped. All efforts by his wife, son, extended family and friends have gleaned no result. The FBI officially confirmed that Shayan Kaviani flew out of LAX, on September 24, 2011, and was staying in the Aksaray and Laleli neighborhood. He disappeared one day after his last phone call to his family. The Kaviani family in the US have emphasized that a woman named Aida, who lived in Iran, and was a financial contributor to his TV program, was in constant contact with Shayan. Promising to set up a television station, Aida covered both Shayan’s travel and hotel costs in Turkey. They believe that she approached Shayan on behalf of the Islamic regime. Various sources have reported that he is still alive but is being held in solitary confinement and under severe torture in prison in Iran.

Jamal Hosseini was killed in his apartment in Turkey, in August 2014.

The lifeless body of 34-year-old Jamal Hosseini, nicknamed Esfandiar Bahrames, was found behind his desk in August 5, 2014, in the apartment he shared in the city of Nevşehir, in Turkey. Hosseini was a founder and editor of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA), one of the important sites that has detailed Human Rights violations at the hands of the Khomeiniist regime.  When Turkish police entered the crime scene, they found blood on his body and in various parts of his house; yet the medical examiner who accompanied the police claimed that he may have had a stroke. However, Zhiar Gul, BBC Persian correspondent in Turkey, had reported that Hosseini had received several threats. In an interview several months prior to his suspicious death, Hosseini said: “HRANA’s activities were a thorn in both the Turkish and Iranian security forces side.” He was concerned about the cooperation and collaboration of the Iranian and Turkish intelligence forces attempting to assassinate him and his colleagues. One year after Hosseini’s death, Radio Zamaneh reported that Turkey still could not explain the cause of the death of this most prominent Iranian human rights activist. He had lived in Turkey for ten years before his suspicious death.

Saied Karimian was fatally shot in Istanbul in April 2017. 

Saied Karimian, founder and owner of the Dubai-based GEM Group, which operates more than 20 satellite Persian language television channels and an entertainment group, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Istanbul. Karimian, 45, and his Kuwaiti business partner, Mohammad Metab Al-Shalahi , were driving in the Maslak district at 8pm on Saturday, April 29, 2017, when their vehicle was blocked by a Jeep. According to reports, two masked shooters got out of the Jeep before opening fire. Karimian, a British national, died at the scene, while his business partner died in hospital. The jeep was later found abandoned and burned. Istanbul police has continued to decline to comment on the shooting.

Kuwaiti businessman, Mohammad Metab Al-Shalahi

In 2016, a revolutionary court in Tehran had tried Karimian in absentia, sentencing him to six years in prison on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”

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Colonel Behrouz Shahverdilou

Date: 16 August 1985
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Colonel Behrouz Shahverdilou was an army officer under the shah and close to Bakhtiar.

Hadi Aziz-Moradi

Date: Dec. 1985, possibly the 23rd
Location: Ankara, Turkey
Target: Hadi Aziz-Moradi, a former army officer who had been involved in the Nuzhih plot
Perpetrator(s): perhaps Hezbollah

Ahmad Hamed Monfared

Date: Friday, 24 Oct. 1986
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Ahmad Hamed Monfared,1 50, had been an officer in the Iranian army. He was also known as Hamid Farzaneh.
Method: shooting
Perpetrator(s): possibly Hezbollah

Mohammad Hassan Mansouri

Date: 25 July 1987
Location: at his house in Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Mohammad Hassan Mansouri, a dissident who had been a colonel in prerevolutionary Iran, possibly along with another person
Method: shooting | Per Foundation for Democracy in Iran, “The assassins escaped in a white Mercedes.”
Perpetrator(s): Per Aygun, Hezbollah was thought to be responsible. The Foundation for Democracy in Iran notes that the attack took place “in the company of an Iraqi diplomat, Behman Fadil” and that the Mercedes in which the assailants escaped was “registered to the Iraqi consulate in Istanbul,” but also that “a ballistics exam showed the same murder weapon that was used” to kill Aziz-Moradi (1.1985-02).

Javad Haeri

Date: Dec. 1987
Location: at Haeri’s home in Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Javad Haeri, a dissident
Method: stabbing
Perpetrator(s): two men

Abdol Hassan Mojtahedzadeh

Date: Oct. 1988, perhaps the 11th or 19th
Location: kidnapped in Istanbul, Turkey | rescued, perhaps near Erzurum, as his captors attempted to cross into Iran
Target: Abdol Hassan Mojtahedzadeh, PMOI | also known as Sadiq el Hassani

Mostafa Abriri, PMOI

Method: The perpetrators kidnapped Mojtahedzadeh and attempted to take him to Iran.
Perpetrator(s): five Iranian diplomats

Hossein Mir-Abedini   &   Mohammad Mohaddessin

Date: 14 Mar. 1990
Location: Istanbul, Turkey, en route to the airport
Target: Hossein Mir-Abedini, a senior Mojahedin leader

Mohammad Mohaddessin, PMOI | Elsewhere in this appendix, we cite Mohaddessin’s book.

one other Iranian

Method: shooting | The assailants ambushed the targets’ car.
Perpetrator(s): an armed commando | Per Foundation for Democracy in Iran, on the same day, Tehran radio broadcasted incorrectly that Mohaddessin “had been killed in the attack.”

Ali Kashefpour

Date: 15 July 1990
Location: Istanbul, Turkey | Per Iran-e-Azad, Kashefpour was “kidnapped . . . from his home” and his body was “later found in a roadside ditch.”
Target: Ali Kashefpour, a leader in the PDKI
Method: kidnapped and tortured
Perpetrator(s): Geist and Sahimi note that the case remains unsolved.

Gholamreza Nakhai

Date: Oct. 1990
Location: in his hotel room in Turkey
Target: Gholamreza Nakhai, a political refugee
Method: Mousavian describes the event as an accident. Iran-e-Azad states that Nakhai received “a severe blow to the head.”

Ali Akbar Ghorbani

Date: Ghorbani was kidnapped during daylight on 4 June 1992; his body was discovered on 29 Jan. 1993.
Location: Ghorbani was kidnapped in front of an apartment in Istanbul, Turkey. Per Curtiss, his body was found in “a shallow grave in a resort 28 miles southeast of Istanbul” (“Iran”).
Target: Ali Akbar Ghorbani, PMOI | also known as Mansour Amini
Method: torture and mutilation | “fingernails pulled out, genitals severed, and a rope around its neck” (Curtiss, “Iran”)
Perpetrator(s): Two Turks who reportedly had worked for Iran were implicated. Ghorbani’s widow accused Tehran. Brigadier General Hossein Mosleh may have been involved.

Two Mojahedin activists

Date: 5 June 1992
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Target: two Mojahedin activists
Method: car bombs | It seems that the activists were targeted separately.
Perpetrator(s): As with Ghorbani, Brigadier General Hossein Mosleh may have been involved.

Abbas Gholizadeh

Date: Gholizadeh was kidnapped on 26 Dec. 1992 | As of 31 Mar. 1993, he was still missing.
Location: kidnapped from his home in suburban Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Abbas Gholizadeh had been an officer in Iran’s army and, per Human Rights Watch, was a member of “the Organization for the Defense of Fundamental Freedoms in Iran (formerly Flag of Freedom).”
Method: kidnapping
Perpetrator(s): Turkish police accused Islamic Action Organization, which it linked to Iran.

Mohammad Ghaderi

Date: Ghaderi was abducted on 25 Aug. 1993. His body was found about ten days later.
Location: Turkey | Our sources vary as to the specific locale, listing alternately Ankara, Istanbul, and Kırşehir.
Target: Mohammad Ghaderi, PDKI
Method: abducted and mutilated
Perpetrator(s): probably Iran

Mehran Bahram Azadfar

Date: 28 Aug. 1993
Location: at Azadfar’s house in Ankara, Turkey
Target: Mehran Bahram Azadfar, PDKI
Method: shooting
Perpetrator(s): Iran-e-Azad attributes the murder to “two Farsi-speaking gunmen” and notes, “A third person stood guard in the garden.” Sahimi writes that the two men were “disguised as Turkish policemen.”

Taha Kermanj

Date: 4 Jan. 1994
Location: Çorum, Turkey
Target: Taha Kermanj was a leader in the PDKI.

Nasser Hadji Rashidi  &  Mahtab Hadji Rashidi

Date: 29 Jan. 1994
Location: a locale in Turkey that our sources call Syraee | We cannot find any reference to such a locale outside of sources that seem to be derived from Foundation for Democracy in Iran.
Target: Nasser Hadji Rashidi, an Iranian Kurd

Mahtab Hadji Rashidi, Nasser’s sister


Zahra Rajabi  &  Abdol-Ali Moradi

Date: The attack took place on 20 Feb. 1996, or possibly the 21st –the National Council of Resistance of Iran notes that the assassinations took place “on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning” (“Brief”).
Location: Rajabi’s apartment in Istanbul, Turkey
Target: Zahra Rajabi, 39, was a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an organization affiliated with the PMOI. She was in Turkey to aid Iranian refugees. She was also known as Mariam Jaydan Jowkar.

Abdol-Ali Moradi was Rajabi’s colleague and a PMOI sympathizer.

Method: shooting | Rajabi was shot in the head five times at point blank range.
Perpetrator(s): The Mojahedin “blamed the Iranian embassy in Turkey” (National Council of Resistance of Iran, “Mr. Rajavi”).

Diako Rostami

Date: August 2015
Location: Van, Turkey
Target: Diako Rostami
Method: Disappeared and hasn’t been seen or heard from since

Ahmad Reza Khosravi

Date: September 2015
Location: Van, Turkey
Target: Ahmad Reza Khosravi, a pilot who defected and sought asylum in Turkey
Method: Attempted Kidnapping
Perpetrator(s): Abdolsalam Tartari and Mohammad Mohammadian, Iran intelligence agents

Sabri Hassanpour

Date: April 2016
Location: Turkey
Target: Sabri Hassanpour, political refugee and activist
Methods: Abduction, has not been seen or heard from since
Perpetrator(s): Iran Ministry of Intelligence claims he was arrested in Iran, but family say that is a lie, and that he was kidnapped in Turkey.

Behzad Bahrami

Date: August 11, 2016
Location: Turkey
Target: Behzad Bahrami, formerly of ex-intelligence minister Ali Fallahian’s staff.
Method: Assaulted by armed men who attacked his car
Perpetrator(s): Bahrami said the kidnappers were trying to bring him back to Iran

Arash Sho’ashregh

Date: February 8, 2018
Location: Van, Turkey
Target: Arash Sho’ashregh, anti regime journalist
Method: Disappeared and hasn’t been since since

Farshid Alavi

Date: Kidnapped on July 3, 2018, Body found July 26, 2018.
Location: Kidnapped in Van, Turkey, Body found in Baskale, Turkey.
Target: Farshid Alavi, a Sunni religious rights activist
Method: He was kidnapped and transported 100 km. The Turkish police confirmed the assailants wanted to bring him across the Iranian border.
Perpetrator(s): Presumably Iran