By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Iran’s deputy judiciary head has confirmed that Tehran has indicted 18 current and former U.S. officials for alleged criminal acts against the Islamic republic.
Deputy judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi says Iran is determined to publicly release "valid documents" that confirm their crimes. (file photo)
Ebrahim Raisi said Iran was determined to publicly release "valid documents" that confirm their crimes. Raisi was quoted by the semiofficial Fars news agency as saying the charges against the Americans include involvement in terrorist attacks. He did not provide further details.
The indictments were first reported by the website Irannuc, which covers news and developments related to Iran’s nuclear program. The website said Iran’s state prosecutor has sent a bill of indictment against several U.S. officials to Tehran’s prosecutor’s office for review.
An unnamed “informed source” told Irannuc that the official indictment included the names of 18 U.S. political, military, and intelligence officials.
The site said the indictment reflected the government’s decision to take legal action against Western officials, particularly Americans, who it says committed crimes or were openly involved in terrorist activities against Iran around one year ago.
Trials are set to start “soon” in Tehran courts, Irannuc claims, without providing more details. Raisi told Fars on December 12 that the public would be informed “soon” about Tehran’s next steps in the case.
Irannuc reported last week that Iranian government officials had already asked Interpol to prosecute former U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former CIA operative.
The two men testified before a Congressional committee in October 2011 and called for the assassination of the leaders of Iran’s Quds Force in retaliation for their alleged roles in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
Keane was quoted as saying: “Why don't we kill them? We kill other people who are running terrorist organizations against the United States. These guys have killed almost 1,000 of us. Why don't we kill them?”
Gerecht said that if the plot was proven, the United States should hold Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, responsible. “Go get him. Either try to capture him or kill him," “The Wall Street Journal” said he told the panel.
The indictment could be seen as payback for sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, which has blacklisted a number of Iranian officials accused of involvement in human rights abuses and state censorship.
It could be also aimed at diverting attention from the deteriorating economic situation that the sanctions have caused. The UN has imposed tough financial sanctions over Iran’s suspect nuclear program.
The Iranian establishment could use the trials, if they indeed take place, for internal propaganda purposes.
Last year, the Iranian parliament “blacklisted” a group of U.S. officials, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, over alleged human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan and at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Lawmaker Hossein Ebrahimi said the bill was a response to sanctions imposed against Iranian officials by the United States. Iran has asked for Interpol’s help, despite the fact that several of its own officials are on the international law enforcement agency’s wanted list over their alleged roles in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina that killed 85 people.
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