News / Europe

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

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid