July 28, 2021
An Iranian human rights organization has said that it has established the identity of 540 victims who have been killed or abducted abroad by Iran’s security forces in the past four decades.
The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC), based in Washington DC, released a statement on July 27 (link is external), highlighting the recent kidnapping plot against US-based Iranian activist Masih Alinejad and said the episode “fits a decades-long pattern of intimidation, extrajudicial killings and abductions of dissidents meant to undermine political and religious groups, silence activists and journalists, and prevent the mobilization of effective opposition movements inside and outside the country.”
The Boroumand center said that although it has identified 540 people who were killed or abducted by Iranian intelligence mainly in the Middle East and Europe, this figure is by no means conclusive.
Most of the victims were targeted in Iran’s neighboring countries, especially in Iraqi Kurdistan in the 1990s, where 329 people were successfully targeted. Thirteen people were killed or abducted in France and six in Germany, but the operation even reached the Philippines, Poland and the United States.
The targets of Iran’s “terror plots reflect Iran’s population in its diversity, including believers and non-believers, Shias and Sunnis, communists, socialists, nationalists and royalists, ABC said.
The high number of victims could be unprecedented in the world in the past 50 years and could surpass operations by the Soviet Union in the first half of the 20th century, when there were a few dozen suspected cases of attacks on dissidents abroad.