The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Lebanon issued the first public statement about the role of the Iranian regime in the mass killing of American military and diplomatic personnel in the early 1980s in Beirut.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has first located and translated the bombshell interview with Sayyed Issa Tabatabai, who serves as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s spokesman in Lebanon.
The state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quickly debunked Tabatabai’s damning revelation about Iran’s role in the American suicide bombings, but MEMRI preserved a copy.
Iran and its main strategic ally, the US-designated Hezbollah terrorist movement, in Lebanon have been blamed for the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, where 63 people, including 17 Americans, were killed and suicide bombers blew up the barracks. American and French members of a multinational force in Lebanon in 1983, which killed 220 Marines, 18 US Navy sailors and 3 US Army soldiers. Fifty-eight French soldiers were also killed in the terrorist attack.
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According to MEMRI’s translation of Tabatabai’s interview with IRNA, Tabatabai said: “I quickly went to Lebanon and provided everything needed to [carry out] martyr operations in the place where the Americans and the Israelis were.” He added, “Efforts to establish [Hezbollah] started inside [Lebanon’s] Baalbek area, where members of [Iran’s] The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has arrived. I had no part in its creation [political] party [Hezbollah]but God enabled me to continue military activity with the group that had worked with us before [Islamic] Victory of the revolution”.
The MEMRI report continued, “It is noteworthy that the part of the interview in which Tabatabai acknowledged receiving Khomeini’s fatwa to attack American and Israeli targets in Lebanon was removed by IRNA from its website shortly after it was published. This is due apparently because no official representative of [Ayatollah Ruhollah] “Has Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Republic or Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, ever said that Iran had any involvement in ordering, planning and carrying out the massive bombings in Lebanon against the US,” MEMRI wrote.
Tabatabai also said during the interview: “With the victory of the Islamic Revolution [in Iran]Hezbollah was founded [in the summer of 1982]. For two years, [Hezbollah’s] military base was in my house. ‘The team’ [supporters of the Islamic Revolution] they signed a contract declaring their willingness to be witnesses. Maybe over 70 [of them] I signed this contract in my home.”
Tabatabai’s importance to the highest echelons of the Iranian regime has recently been presented in the English language Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. One entry shows Tabatabai meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Amir-Abdollahian” he emphasized [Sayyed] Issa Tabatabai’s significant support and contribution to strengthening the position of the “resistance” in Lebanon, the region and the Islamic world,” according to the text of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
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Michael Rubin, an Iran expert for the American Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital, “The Americans have surprised both Iranians and the victims of Iranian terrorism with the diplomatic transgressions undertaken to avoid holding Iran accountable. Now that the supreme leader’s spokesman confessed, the questions are: (1) Will the Americans who carried water for Iranian terrorism apologize? (2) Will Iran pay compensation to the victims of their terrorism? [President] Biden costs five Americans at $6 billion, the U.S. should demand at least $289.2 billion from Iran today.”
Rubin’s reference to Americans allegedly aiding Iranian terrorism glosses over allegations that Iranian-Americans, one of whom works for the Defense Department, were involved in foreign lobbying for the Islamic Republic. The US State Department has classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.
The MEMRI disclosure could lead to new lawsuits against the Iranian regime for its role in the assassination of US military and diplomatic personnel. According to MEMRI, “Iran has always categorically denied any role in the bombings. It has not filed any defense in response to US lawsuits filed against it in 2001 by families of the hundreds of Americans killed or injured in barracks bombings.”
Fox News Digital reported in 2016 that a US Supreme Court ruling allowed families of victims of the 1983 Lebanon bombing and other attacks linked to the Iranian regime to collect nearly $2 billion in frozen funds from Iran.
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Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American expert on the Iranian regime, told Fox News Digital, “Issa Tabatabai’s admission is an indication of serious divisions among the top forces of the regime. No one in the ranks of either the clergy or the Revolutionary Guards would admit that Such an action unless infighting among the Shiite mafia leadership escalated.For Tabatabai to recognize and undertake this heinous act of terror, he must be sure that his superiors would not or could not punish him, otherwise he would have himself—censored and important details omitted.”
He continued, “But he didn’t. He cleared it all up — before the editors cut out bits of his interview. So, it’s either that, or he feels like he has nothing to lose. Either way, given Biden [and French President Emmanuel Macron] Governments’ desperation for any facsimile of agreement with the Khomeinist regime will likely sweep it under the carpet.”
MEMRI wrote that Tabatabai noted the “absolute trust placed in him by both Khomeini and his successor Khamenei and underlined that he is Khamenei’s trusted representative in Lebanon in all matters related to finance and Shiite expansion ».
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A Pentagon spokesman referred questions from Fox News Digital to the State Department. Neither the State Department nor the National Security Council responded to those questions.
Potkin Azarmehr, a British-Iranian expert on Iran, told Fox News Digital: “It seems that whenever Western leaders see the consequences of their appeasement with terrorists, they are still resigned to continue on the same doomed path they were on last four decades”.
Several Fox News Digital press inquiries were referred to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN mission for comment.