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Iranian detained in Iraq tied to Vienna murders: report


VIENNA - One of five Iranians arrested by US forces in Iraq last week is the suspected leader of a commando team that assassinated three Iranian Kurds in Vienna in 1989, Austrian public radio has reported.

Austria’s Oe1 radio said Tuesday that one of the arrested Iranians is Mohammad Jafari-Sahroudi, implicated in the assassination of Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, then head of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, his assistant and another Kurdish exile.

The radio station did not indicate its source.

A spokesman for the Austrian justice ministry told the APA news agency called the report “just rumours”, but said that if it is confirmed that Jafari-Sahroudi has been captured then Vienna could seek his extradition as it still has an international warrant out for his arrest.

The US military arrested the five Iranians last week at an office in the northern city of Arbil, suspecting them of being agents for the Iranian government who had been arming militias and inciting anti-American attacks in Iraq.

Jafari-Sahroudi and two suspected accomplices took refuge in the Iranian embassy after the 1989 killings, and managed to get out of the country without ever being questioned by the Austrian authorities.

Iran’s current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was also implicated in the affair by some Austrian officials in the aftermath of his election victory in June 2005.

The Islamic Republic’s first president, Abolhassan Beni-Sadr, also claimed Ahmadinejad supplied the gun used to kill Ghassemlou. However Tehran has vehemently denied the allegations, which have never been proven.

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