Thwart attempted hijack of Iranian aircraft -diplomat
Iranian security personnel have thwarted today an attempt for hijacking an aircraft that was heading from Tehran to Damascus and was carried out by one of the elements of Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO), a diplomatic Iranian source said here Saturday. The same source said in a statement to Syrian news station (SNS) that the perpetrator of such attack was an Iranian citizen belonging to the Iranian opposition MKO, noting that the attacker was mentally unstable and was currently under investigations. Syrian security authorities in Damascus International Airport were handed over the Iranian citizen — who was equipped with a knife — from the security personnel on the Iranian aircraft following its safe landing without the falling of any incident. Syrian authorities started to cross-examine the suspect to know his motives after he claimed that he planted a bomb in the aircraft and that he intends to hijack it.
However, the guards on the aircraft managed to detain the man after it became clear that is lying and following their accurate search of the aircraft. The Iranian source refused to say whether the purported attacker was returned back or he is still on Syrian territories, asserting that the aircraft — which is operated by the Iranian Airways (Iran Air) — was searched by concerned bodies, then return to Tehran without detecting any explosives on it.MKO is engaged in a conflict with the Iranian government since the former was established in 1965 when it targeted first to topple Shah’s regime, then aimed its sight at the Islamic government which took the helm later, though the outfit was ousted from Iran at the beginning of 1980s, but the defunct regime of Saddam Hussein allowed it to stay in Iraq, provided support for it, and so its elements established a base in Ashraf camp near to Iraqi-Iranian borders.
Kuwait News Agency (Kuna), 27 November 2010
IRGC Official: Attempted Hijack of Iranian Flight Carried out to Overshadow Hariri’s Visit
Fars News, November 28,2010
A senior official of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said that enemies’ failed attempt to hijack the Friday night flight from Tehran to Damascus was aimed at overshadowing the landmark visit to Iran by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Pointing to President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon last month and Hariri’s reciprocal visit to Tehran, head of the IRGC public relations office General Ramazan Sharif said, "The US and Zionist regime of Israel’s officials were seeking to initiate a media campaign (against Iran and Lebanon) through the MKO (anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization) in a bid to overshadow the two visits."
"Since this is a blatant act of terrorism, few people may accept the risk to carry out such an action unless it yields huge interest," the official noted.
The act by MKO members came at a time when the European Union has asked the US to take the MKO off its terror list.
On Saturday, the IRGC announced that the individual who tried to hijack an Iranian plane en route to Damascus on Friday night was an affiliate of anti-revolutionary groups.
Earlier, FNA reported that Iranian security forces had foiled an attempted hijack of a plane bound for the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The plane en route from Tehran to Damascus landed safely at the Syrian capital’s airport after the man threatening to hijack the airliner was arrested by the security personnel on board.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament issued a declaration on Thursday, urging the removal of the MKO from Washington’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The European Union took the MKO off its black list in 2009.
Also efforts in the House of Representatives to press the Obama Administration to remove the group from the United States list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations have accelerated in the past week.
The group started assassination of Iranian citizens and officials after the Islamic Revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Many of the MKO members have abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations.
According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.
Numerous articles and letters posted on the Internet by family members of MKO recruits confirm reports of the horrific abuse that the group inflicts on its own members and the alluring recruitment methods it uses.
The most shocking of such stories includes accounts given by former British MKO member Ann Singleton and Mustafa Mohammadi — the father of an Iranian-Canadian girl who was drawn into the group during an MKO recruitment campaign in Canada.
Mohammadi recounts his desperate efforts to contact his daughter, who disappeared several years ago – a result of what the MKO called a ‘two-month tour’ of Camp Ashraf for teenagers.
He also explains how the group forces the families of its recruits to take part in pro-MKO demonstrations in the western countries by threatening to kill their loved ones.
Lacking a foothold in Iran, the terrorist group recruits ill-informed teens from Iranian immigrant communities in western states and blocks their departure afterwards.