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UK frees terrorist amid tensions with Iran

Press TV - The only surviving culprit involved in a 1980 terrorist attack on the Iranian embassy in London has been released from prison in Britain.

Fowzi Badavi Nejad is one of six hostage-takers who laid siege on Iran's embassy in London in May 1980. After six days, the British Special Air Service (SAS) stormed the building and freed the hostages, two of whom were killed.

Badavi Nejad, who participated in the operation allegedly financed by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, received five life sentences in 1981 by a British court.

A British Home Office spokesperson, however, has revealed on the condition of anonymity that the UK has freed the convict.

The British representative added that Badavi Nejad, 22 at the time of the hostage crisis, would neither be deported from the UK nor granted asylum. "We do not give refugee status to convicted terrorists," he said.

While Iran has called on Britain to deport Badavi Nejad to Iran to try him for his crimes, the convict will reportedly enjoy a safe stay in the UK at taxpayers' expense.

The release of Badavi Nejad comes after Iran-UK relations ventured into troubled waters following a British government decision to grant knighthood to author Salman Rushdie, despite the publication of his controversial book, The Satanic Verses, which sparked worldwide outrage in the late 1980s.

Iran described the knighthood as 'a blatant example of the anti-Islamism of senior British officials'. Top officials from various Muslim countries have even called on their government to sever ties with London because of the measure.

In a recent move, Britain removed the banned Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) from its blacklist of terror organizations. The MKO has committed acts of aggression against both Iranian and Iraqi nationals and remains banned by the European Union and the United States.

According to the Iranian Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Britain has been provided ample evidence of MKO involvement in terrorist operations against the Iranian nation.

"They have even met with some of the victims of the MKO terrorist acts. Still, the London Appeals Court has permitted a dangerous terrorist group to operate in Britain," reads a letter by the Head of the Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi to his counterpart in the British parliament, Mike Gapes.

The failure of US and British troops to curb drug cultivation in Afghanistan is another reason for the current tensions between Iran and the UK.

Afghanistan, the largest cultivator of opium poppy, is responsible for most of the illicit opium, heroin and opium derivatives hitting world markets. Drug cultivation in Afghanistan has skyrocketed since the beginning of the US-led war on the country in 2001.

With 3,500 law enforcement officers killed in two decades of drug busts, the UN credits Iran for the seizure of 80 per cent of the opium netted around the world in 2007. Iran seized 900 tons of narcotics coming from Afghanistan last year.

Iran has waged a 30-year campaign against illicit drug trade and believes Britain and the US bear the responsibility of securing the war-torn country and putting an end to its drug cultivation.

... Payvand News - 10/10/08 ... --

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