Switzerland has announced it intends to close the file on the terrorist assassination of Iran’s first post-revolution Ambassador to the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva by agents of the Khomeini regime.
Prof. Kazem Rajavi was gunned down on April 24, 1990 in broad daylight by several Iranian intelligence agents as he was driving to his home in Coppet, a village near Geneva.
The murder in cold blood of Prof. Rajavi, the Representative in Switzerland of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is one of hundreds of terrorist assassinations carried out by the clerical dictatorship targeting dissidents and foreign nationals.
The United States State Department said in a recent fact sheet that since coming to power in 1979, the Iranian regime has been implicated in as many as 360 targeted assassinations, terrorist plots, and terrorist attacks in more than 40 countries.
The regime engages in these assassinations and other attacks primarily through the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), but also via third parties and terrorist proxies such as Hizballah. Iranian assassins often use diplomatic cover to carry out the killings.
The decision to murder dissidents abroad are made at the highest level in Iran, and multiple countries have issued arrest warrants for Iranian diplomats for involvement in such killings.
In the case of Prof. Rajavi, after extensive investigations, Roland Chatelain, the Swiss magistrate in charge of the case, and Swiss judicial and police officials confirmed the role of Iran’s government under President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the participation of thirteen agents of the Iranian regime who had used “service passports” to enter Switzerland for their plot.
Swiss magistrates later issued an international arrest warrant for a former Iranian intelligence minister, Ali Fallahian, in relation to the murder.
In 1992, French security agents arrested two people in Paris suspected of assassinating Prof. Rajavi. Swiss security agents requested their extradition, and a French court authorized it; however, the French government instead extradited the pair to Iran, citing “national interests.”
In June, the NCRI said it received a copy of a letter by the Prosecutor for Vaud Province in Switzerland concerning the “future closure” of the file on the assassination of Prof. Rajavi because of the “statute of limitation.” According to the letter, the file on 14 of the murderers was to be closed on June 17, 2020.
That announcement was met with a chorus of condemnation from Iranian dissidents and Swiss and European lawmakers. Following the protests, it was announced that the closure of the file had been postponed until July 31.
The Swiss decision is nothing more than an abject political deal similar to France’s decision to free two of the arrested killers. Terrorism and crimes against humanity are part of the Iranian regime’s DNA and are perpetrated relentlessly. They cannot be subject to the statute of limitations.
Since 2018, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian ‘diplomat’ to Austria, remains in a Belgian prison awaiting trial based on evidence that he provided explosives to bomb an NCRI rally in Paris, which could have killed scores of men, women, and children.
Earlier this year, Albania expelled two Iranian diplomats for plotting attacks against thousands of members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) who are based in the Balkan state. Similarly, in December 2018, Albania expelled Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat for “damaging its national security,” prompting praise from U.S. President Donald Trump for the country’s “steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe.”
Iran’s regime consistently lies about its involvement in killings abroad, even when its own diplomatic personnel are caught surveilling attack targets, providing explosives, or fleeing crime scenes.
If Switzerland is serious about fighting terrorism it should keep open Prof. Rajavi’s file. Invoking the statute of limitations regarding this file is a by-product of much delay and postponement and amounts to nothing but preventing justice from being served and appeasing the mullahs over their unbridled terrorism. It would only stain Switzerland’s record of commitment to democracy and the rule of law. And it is not something that the Iranian people would forgive or forget.
Switzerland should forcefully pursue the international arrest warrants for those who ordered and perpetrated this terrorist murder. And it’s high time for European countries to follow Albania’s example in expelling Iran’s ‘diplomat-terrorists’ and shutting down its embassies.
*Hanif Jazayeri is a London-based news editor and Iranian opposition activist. Follow him on Twitter @HanifJazayeri.