French media reported Sunday that the International Lebanon Tribunal will charge Iran and Hezbollah with the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri while former Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani Sadr said Iran is expected to liquidate Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah when the report comes out.
The Islamic Revolution, an Iranian opposition newspaper known for its close ties to former Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani Sadr published an article about a French radio report stating that General Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iran's Quds Brigade, affiliated to the elite Revolutionary Guards ordered the late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh to carry out the assassination of Hariri in 2005.
Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 in the Syrian capital Damascus and both Iran and Hezbollah accused the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad of assasinating him.
According to the French report, the assassination of Hariri was assigned to both Mughniyeh and one of his relatives called Mustafa Badr al-Din and the operation was carried out through full coordination between Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran, Hezbollah indictment
Former Iranian president Bani Sadr said that according to his sources, both Iran and Hezbollah will be indicted and that explains why Hezbollah has been pressuring Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to discredit the findings of the special tribunal.
“Saad al-Hariri has been facing so much pressure to stop the tribunal’s investigations, yet he insisted it should resume its work,” Bani Sadr told AlArabiya.net from his exile in the French capital Paris.
Bani Sadr added that he also heard that Hezbollah threatened to stage a coup in Lebanon in case the party is charged with assassinating Hariri.
Bani Sadr learned from his sources that in case Iran is indicted in one way or another and the interests of the regime are jeopardized, there are plans to liquidate Hassan Nasrallah.
Wghen asked about reports by Amercian network Fox News stating that the tribunal is likely to indict Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Bani Sadr said he does not trust Fox news but pointed out the gravity of such an accusation.
“To indict a top official like Khamenei is unprecedented. Iranian officials were indicted before in the Mykonos affair when a Kurdish opposition figures was assassinated, yet they were not of the same rank as Khamenei.”
When asked if Iran’s involvement in Hariri’s assassination implies a direct order from Khamenei and if Khamenei is likely to be involved, Bani Sadr replied that the supreme leader has a history of ordering the assassination of opposition figures.
“According to reliable sources, Khamenei gave his personal approval on the assassination of writers and journalists who opposed the regime. This applies to all political assassinations in Iran.”
Bani Sadr recounted a story he heard from a source close to Khamenei which this source had told the supreme leader that it might not have been necessary to assassinate Iranian writer Dariush Forouhar and his wife.
“To this, Khamenei replied that only someone in his own position could understand the necessity of such an action.”
Bani Sadr stressed that it is not possible that for cricial decisions to be taken by Iranian officials without the knowledge of the supreme leader.
“It is impossible for Iran to play a role in any local, regional, or international issue without the approval of Ayatollah Khamenei. He has the last word in Iran,” he concluded.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid).