The 2015 murder of an Iranian-born man living in the Netherlands under an assumed identity and thought to be responsible for a deadly 1981 terrorist attack in Tehran is raising questions about the Islamic Republic’s ability to carry out political assassinations in Europe.
A man known as Ali Mo’tamed was gunned down in front of his home in the dutch town of Almere in December 2015. The Dutch daily Het Parool cited court documents stating that the man’s true identity was Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi, and that he was “most certainly” the man accused by Iranian authorities of perpetrating the most deadly terrorist attack the country has ever seen.
The mysterious circumstances of Samadi’s murder have lead to suspicion it could have been a hit ordered by Iran’s intelligence services in retribution for the attack.
After the May 25 arraignment of two men accused of Samadi’s murder, Iranian-Dutch lawyer Ulis Ellian called upon the officials of Almere municipality to investigate whether or not the killing could have been a political assassination ordered by Iran.
Samadi reportedly entered the Netherlands under the false identity of Ali Mo’tamed as a refugee in the 1980s, having fled Iran after the June 28, 1981 bombing of the Islamic Republic Party headquarters which left more than 70 dead, including the nascent regime’s Chief-Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was considered the number 2 man of the newly established Islamic Republic after its founder Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.
Tehran initially accused Iran’s pro Moscow Communist Tudeh party of the attack, but later pointed the finger at one of its former allies, an armed dissident group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization (MKO).
The man behind the massacre was officially named as nineteen-year old student and MKO member, Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi.
Samadi reportedly joined MKO immediately after the downfall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in February 1979, initially serving as one of the notorious “Komitehs agents,” a squad that terrorized officials affiliated with the previous regime.
Later, MKO clandestinely paved the way for Kolahi to infiltrate the ruling Islamic Republic Party, serving first as the manager of sound and audio systems, but quickly rising in the party ranks.
On the day of the deadly attack, Samadi reportedly carried a powerful bomb hidden in his personal briefcase into the party’s headquarters in the heart of Tehran, where almost all of the party’s top officials had gathered.
Samadi left minutes before the bomb went off, and after hiding for a time in an MKO safe house, fled Iran through its western border with Iraq and then made his way to Europe.
Samadi was sentenced to death in absentia by the Islamic Republic.
According to Het Parool, while living in the Netherlands Samadi lead a peaceful life as an electrician in the city of Almere, near Amsterdam, where his friends describe him as a “trustworthy” and “punctual” individual. Samadi married a dutch woman who says she only found out her husband’s true identity a few years ago. They have a seventeen-year-old son who attends university in the Netherlands.
“Two men suspected of killing Samadi have been identified as 28-year-old Anouar A.B. and 35-year-old Moreo M,” Het Parool reported, adding, “Both suspects have a criminal record and come from the same Bijlmer neighborhood of Amsterdam.”
Bijlmer is known as a pool for hiring hit-men and elements for criminal attacks in and around the dutch capital in recent years.
Based on their names, neither of the suspects are of Iranian origin. However, according to security experts, Iran has a record of hiring foreigners, mainly Lebanese and Palestinians, to eliminate exiled “enemies” around the world.