[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 168
DECEMBER 17 1988
“We will use any legitimate means to exercise our right for self-defense. And therefore, acting in self-defense, we will use all legitimate means and ways in order to punish this act of terrorism. Not merely to punish. Punish for punishment. But we will resort to punishment to prevent further occurrence or recurrence of such unfortunate incidents.”
Mohammad Jaafar Mahallati, Iran’s Ambassador at the United Nation, July 4 1988
Near the end of December 1988, the Iranian embassy in Beirut hosted a conference at the Carlton Hotel titled: International Conference in support of the Palestinian Intifadah, at the Carlton hotel. The conference was hosted by Iran foreign Minister Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati.
US intelligence agents in Beirut identified prominent faces of Middle Eastern terrorist groups such as Ahmed Jibril, Abu Musa, Abu Fadi, Ibrahim al Amin, Abu Muhammad al Najafi, Ahmad Hassan Mehna, Said Shaban and Ali Ammar.
A declassified document, obtained through the FOIA, states that:
“the concluding statement contained a subtle reference to the approaching of the ordained revenge on America for its crime against the Iranian civilian airliner.”
The concluding statement was made by Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati on Dec. 20. Less than 24 hours later, Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie.
Iranian defector Abolghasem Mesbahi has said that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini personally ordered the revenge attack and that Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati had carried out the planning.
Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati (علیاکبر ولایتی; born June 25, 1945 in Shemiran) is an Iranian politician and a former pediatrician. He is currently an Advisor in International Affairs to the Supreme Leader.
Velayati acquired his M.D. from University of Tehran and pediatrics degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, respectively in 1971 and 1974.
Velayati served for two terms under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi from 1981 to 1988 and then two more terms under President Hashemi Rafsanjani from 1988 to 1997. Thus velayati was the Foreign Minister of Iran for about 16 years (December 15, 1981 – August 20, 1997), making him the longest-serving Foreign Minister in Iranian history. In that position, Velayati negotiated the difficult peace agreement with Iraqi foreign minister Tareq Aziz.
After winning the presidential election on October 13, 1981, President Ali Khamenei proposed Velayati as his prime minister to the Majlis of Iran, but Majlis voted against him (74/80/38) on October 22. Khamenei later proposed Mir-Hossein Mousavi who gained Majlis’s approval.
Velayati was under consideration by the conservative alliance of Iran as a possible candidate for Iranian presidential election of 2005, but he announced that he would not accept candidacy of the conservative alliance and would run as an Independent. He finally decided not to run. It has been said that he did not want to run against Hashem Rafsanjani.
During the September 1985 meeting when the organization of the VEVAK was elaborated, Abolghasem strongly argued that the agency role should be limited to data gathering and analysis. Mesbahi opposed the plans of Ali Akbar Velayati who argued, successfully, that the VEVAK should also conduct assassinations and acts of terror abroad.
Secret US – Iran negotiations
According to official sources, in late July, the Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar urged Velayati to use his influence to secure the release of the American hostages held in Lebanon. Washington would appear to have pressure him to do so.
On August 1, Iranian leaders have publicly said that they would use their influence over Hizbullah if the US returns Iranian assets frozen following the Islamic revolution.
Fearful that such agreement would resurrect the memories of the Iran-Contras, the Reagan administration immediately rejected such demand. But Secretary of State Shultz announced that he was ready to meet with Velayati.
Velayati, who was then in New York to discuss the cease-fire with the UN Secretary General, rejected Shultz proposal, arguing that he had not received the authority to engage in further negotiations.
On Aug. 9, Velayati has promised that Iran top officials will use their influence to try to win the freedom of Americans held hostage in Lebanon.
In late August 1988, a meeting between US citizen Richard Lawless, rumored to represent VP Bush, and Iranian negotiators took place at Glyon, near Montreux, Switzerland. At least, two other meetings occured in September and a fourth meeting took place in early October.
The Iranian negotiators were Mohammad Javad Larijani, Mahmoud Jamali, Nasrollah Kazemi Kamyab and Abolghasem Mesbahi. All of them are quite well known senior officials and worked for the Foreign Affairs Ministry except for Mesbahi who was representing Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Larijani has been a Majlis (parliament) representative and a vice minister of foreign affairs. Trained as a mathematician under supervision of mathematical logician Robert Vaught at the University of California at Berkeley, he is currently the director of the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics in Tehran. NB. Larijani was contacted by this writer regarding the meetings but has not replied.
Jamali was director general for international conferences at the Foreign Ministry. The official nature of these talks is abundantly clear from the high-ranking level of the participants. Kamyab was Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher has said that the release of hostage Rudolf Cordes had been negotiated over several months with Iranian officials and was finally obtained at a meeting on Aug. 24 with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Larijani.
On the Downing of Iran Flight 665
On July 5 1988, Dr Ali Akbar Velayati, called the downing of the airliner an atrocity and urged Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to have the United Nations condemn the United States as the perpetrator.
On July 14, Velayati, told the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. downing of an Iran Airbus 665 by the USS Vincennes was “a barbaric massacre.”
On the same day, Velayati revealed that the information exchanged by Iran Flight 665 was standard for civil flights: headings, temperatures, altitudes and checkpoints, punctuated by the succinct politeness of airline pilots the world over. Moreover, the transcript was in English, the language pilots and controllers use worldwide for standard radio communication.
Velayati asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn the United States saying the downing “could not have been a mistake” and was a “criminal act,” an “atrocity” and a “massacre.”
On the relation of Ahmed Jibril with Velayati
Links between Ahmed Jibril led PFLP-GC and Iran began in the 80s and became closer in December 1987 when Ahmed Jibril and Ali Akbar Velayati met in Tripoli, Libya. During their meeting, Jibril conveyed to Velayati his support “for the Islamic Revolution”. Soon, the rhetoric of the PFLP-GC began to change. In May 89, Jibril declared that his organization would execute Salman Rushie in accordance with the fatwa issued by Ayatolah Khomeini.
In Sept. 88, Velayati organized a major conference in Tehran to discuss plans to escalate the conflict with Israel. Leaders of the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah and of the Lebanese Sunni militia Tawhid, Ahmed Jibril and Abu Musa attended the meeting.
By the end of the conference, Jibril called for the establishment of a formal Palestinian – Iranian alliance. Jibril concept of an Islamic Organization for the liberation of Palestine will materialize on Dec 20 1988.
The organization aims first of all at eliminating and replacing Arafat PLO. According to a source close to Grand Ayatolah Montazeri, Jibril spoke of three goals.
Jibril stated that:
”The three aims of the PFLP-GC are: the liberation of Palestine through the elimination of PLO leader Yasser Arafat and other American collaborators; the continuation of the fight against America; and the need to remain in the shadows behind any terrorist action. ”