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Alleged Mastermind Of Attack On Saudi Embassy Appointed To Iran's Judo Federation

Hassan Kordmihan
Hassan Kordmihan

An Iranian cleric who was allegedly behind the 2016 attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran has been appointed as the head of the cultural committee of Iran’s Judo Federation.

The federation said on December 27 that Hassan Kordmihan, who had been named by Iranian media as the mastermind of the January storming of the Saudi mission in the Iranian capital, will also serve as an adviser to the federation’s president.

Protesters stormed and ransacked the Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who had criticized the kingdom’s treatment of its Shi’ite minority.

Kordmihan was arrested following the attack and went on trial behind closed doors in the Special Clergy Court that prosecutes clerics accused of wrongdoing.

Damage to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in 2016
Damage to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in 2016

It is not clear whether a sentence was issued against Kordmihan who, according to media reports, had been arrested after returning from Syria where Iran-backed forces have provided military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the Syrian conflict.

Kordmihan, who has denied having played a role in the attack, was among about 100 people arrested following the storming of the Saudi diplomatic missions.

In all, 21 suspects went on trial in the case. Some of the defendants were handed sentences of three months or six months in jail, while others were acquitted, Iranian media has reported.

Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic ties with Iran following the attacks on its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashad.

The Iranian government has condemned the attacks, but tensions have still been on the rise in recent months between the two regional rivals.

Iran was banned last year from international judo competitions over the country's refusal to face Israeli competitors.

The Islamic republic does not recognize Israel, and Iranian sports teams have employed a policy of not competing against Israelis.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda