News / Europe

Iran Gives Hero's Welcome to Killer of Former Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar

Ali Vakili Rad, one of the assassins of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar, received an enthusiastic welcome in Tehran, after being released early from a life sentence in a French prison. France denies that it struck a deal with Iran to win the release of a detained academic, despite accusations to the contrary.

Ali Vakili Rad received a hero's welcome at Tehran Airport, where he was met by Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi and members of his family. He was released by French authorities after serving 16 years of a life sentence, before being deported.

Vakili Rad was convicted by a French court in the brutal 1991 assassination of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in a Paris suburb. Two accomplices escaped and were never brought to justice.

French prosecutors, the French press, and many Iranians in exile accused the Iranian regime of plotting the assassination. A previous attempt on Bakhtiar's life in 1980, which left two people dead, is also attributed to the Iranian government.

Looking slightly disoriented, Vakili Rad told Iranian journalists after returning home that he was relieved to be a free man.

He says that he has been through hell and that he is now pleased to have found what he calls paradise.

Some media outlets, as well as Iranians in exile, accused the French government of striking a deal with Tehran to win the release of detained French academic Clotilde Reiss, who was allowed to leave Iran, Sunday. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero denies the charges.

He says that France was never involved in the slightest bargaining with the Iranians and goes on to insist that the French justice system is independent. He argues that it is up to French judges to determine the fate of Iranian citizens in various [legal] cases.

Vakili Rad was the second Iranian prisoner to be released by the French judicial system in under two weeks. Majid Kakavand, whom the U.S. had sought to extradite for the sale of sensitive technology to Iran, was freed by a French court, earlier this month.

Murderers, in France, are often released after serving a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Ali Nourizadeh of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London says that what upset him is that Vakili Rad was being feted by the Iranian government after committing a gruesome crime.

"Based on the French legal system, a man who is sentenced to life imprisonment usually is released after 15 years; I mean, he's been in jail for 18 years, but what makes me annoyed is receiving him as a hero at Tehran Airport. He was involved in butchering Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar-cutting his head, his wrists-and the [Iranian] regime is welcoming him as a hero," he said.

Al Arabiya TV claimed in a report Tuesday that the French government had also agreed to sell spare helicopter parts to the Iranian government, as part of what it called a "deal" to win the release of French academic Clotilde Reiss.

In 1990, France expelled convicted murderer Anis Naccache to Iran, after serving just part of a life sentence for a previous, botched attempt on the life of Mr. Bakhtiar. The French press accused the government of President Francois Mitterrand of cutting a deal with Iran.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More