One year ago a very graphic video had been posted on YouTube which apparently showed the dying of assassinated 27-year-old Neda Agha Soltan in terrifying directness. Neda, who allegedly had been on her way to the then common protests against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12, had been shot in her chest, and despite several people trying to rescue her life, had died on the spot. A basij sniper was the suspect culprit; that seemed to be very clear. President Obama and others in his administration, who were breathlessly following the events in Tehran and big cities in the country in the aftermath of election day, said, Neda’s death was “heartbreaking.” Later Neda became the “Angel of Iran” and an icon of the “Green” and human rights movement in Iran.
Political assassination has a very long tradition in Iran. The word itself refers to Hassan-i Sabah (d. 1124), the founder of the Ismaili Hashashiyyin sect of Islam. He and his adherents were residing at Alamut, a couple of heavily fortified castles in the heart of the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran. Political murder was directed against the Seljuq Turks who had conquered Iran and erected their huge empire in the 11th century.
Assuming it is true that Neda had been shot by a member of the paramilitary and dreaded basij, one should immediately ask the question, as a benefit to whom? The day before the assassination, Iran’s Supreme Leader had lead Friday Prayers in Tehran where he cautioned the protesters. He said, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network IRINN:
“If the political elite ignore the law, or cut off their noses to spite the face, whether they want or not, they will be responsible for the bloodshed, violence, and chaos (that will follow).”
It was widely assumed that, with these words, he had released the bandogs of the regime, i.e. the basiji.
But had the regime not in mind potential disastrous effects on worldwide public opinion when the first martyrs would have been created by the Islamic Republic of Iran? (Neda was of course not the only one who was killed during the protests. Undisputed, dozens were killed, hundreds tortured and thousands arrested.)
Scene change. On 2 June 1967, the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi visits, together with his wife Farah, West-Berlin. They wanted to attend a performance of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the Deutsche Oper. There were hundreds of demonstrators, both German students and Iranians protesting against the Shah, an oriental puppet of the western powers, in particular the U.S., usually wearing ludicrous fantasy uniforms. So-called Jubelperser represented the Iranian establishment, members of the Shah’s secret police and terror organization SAVAK. German and Iranian protestors were brutally beaten by these Jubelperser, unhindered by German policemen who only watched them but did not interfere.
Then a shot was fired. A German student, 26-year old Benno Ohnesorg, had been shot in his head from a distance of one or two meters by a German plain-clothes police officer, Karl-Heinz Kurras. Ohnesorg died on the spot. In two separate trials, Kurras was cleared of all charges. It was a huge scandal in the still young Federal Republic of Germany.
Kurras was widely considered, not only by left-wing and radical students, far-right. Ohnesorg’s assassination immediately meant radicalization of the students’ movement. A terrorist organization named itself after the date of Ohnesorg’s assassination, Movement 2 June, which years later kidnapped Peter Lorenz, a candidate for Mayor in Berlin. Fortunately, Lorenz wasn’t shot but released after imprisoned members of the other German terrorist group, Red Army Faction, had been set free and flown out to Aden in the Yemen. The incidents of the Shah’s visit in Germany had definitely changed the course of history in the country.
For more than 40 years, the supposed motive of Kurras for killing the 26-year old student Benno Ohnesorg was inordinate hatred of a far-right outcast. But in May 2009, it was revealed that Kurras was an undercover agent of East-Berlin’s secret police and terror organization Stasi. The dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic had apparently an interest in fomenting riots in West-Berlin.
Back to Neda Agha Soltan. Circumstances of her martyrdom have not been clarified yet. Her suffering and dying has been abused in particular by sensationalism in western media in order to give what is called the Green Movement in Iran momentum. Attempts had been made to make very clear that the inhumane ‘system’, the Islamic Republic of Iran, had killed her. But who benefitted most? CIA, Mossad, Iranian terrorist organizations, etc. pp. had certainly been in Tehran in June last year as well. (In that respect one may remember the assassination of Dr. Masoud Ali-Mohammadi on 12 January 2010. He was a Professor at Tehran University and, rumors had it, about to defect to a western country. See conspiracy theories about his fate here.)
It is hoped that it won’t take another 40 years until Neda’s homicide will eventually be solved.
Last update June 18, 2010.