Reports: US Is Holding Kurdish Killer Sharoudi in Erbil
There are more reports coming from Iraq about the capture of wanted Iranian Revolutionary Guard member, Mohammad Jaafari Sharoudi(Sahraroudi) at the “consulate” in Erbil, Iraq last week.
ADN Kronos has this report:
One of five Iranians arrested by US forces in the Kurdish-controlled northern Iraqi city of Erbil on 11 January, in a raid on Iran’s consulate, was an envoy of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, according to a source. The man, Mohammad Jaafari Sharoudi, is wanted in Austria on charges that he took part in the assassination of Iranian Kurdish leader Abdol Rahman Ghassemlu and his aides in Vienna in 1989.
“A person with this name arrived in Erbil a day before the raid and met Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish president of Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, president of the regional government,” Kurdish journalist Karim Vali told Adnkronos International (AKI). “Mohammad Jaafari had introduced himself as the special envoy for Iraq of Iran’s Council for the Discernment of Expediency.”
The powerful watchdog is chaired by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Mohammad Jaafari Sharoudi was one of five Iranian officials detained last week on charges of being connected to a faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the Pasdaran, that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq.
Abdol Rahman Ghassemlu (pictured above), the historic leader of Iranian Kurds, was killed in an apartment in the outskirts of the Austrian capital Vienna where he was scheduled to meet a delegation sent by then Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Austrian sources claim that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was at the time a Pasdaran official, was the logistics’ head of the commando group responsible for the Kurdish leader’s death while Jaafari Sharoudi was one of the killers.
ADN Kronos follows up their report on the arrest of Sharoudi with news that Iran is going to complain to the US authorities on the arrests in Erbil.
The Pentagon, the White House, and the Directorate of National Intelligence have not made public any of the new intelligence from either raids of Iranian outposts in Iraq. One intelligence official who has seen much of the early reporting on the Irbil raid said yesterday that it linked the Iranians to Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army operations in Kirkuk as well as anti-Kurdish operations from Ansar al-Sunna. Ansar al-Sunna is an outgrowth of the defeated Ansar al-Islam, a Qaeda-affiliated Sunni organization that tried to assassinate one of Iraq’s deputy prime ministers, Barham Salih…
On one side of the bureaucratic debate are the CIA and the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. According to one administration official familiar with the debate, they argue that the prolonged detention of the suspected Quds force operatives will provoke a further escalation with Iran and scuttle the Iraqi government’s plan to help secure Baghdad with American soldiers. On the other side of the debate are the Pentagon’s special operations office, the Marines, and the Army — which have pleaded that the captured Iranians are too great a danger to American forces to return to Iran.
Things are so out of hand that Iraq has signaled its intention to review its protocols with Iran.
Which makes today’s news from Iran all the more interesting…
The Iranians are reporting today that the arrested Revolutionary Guard members will be released this week.