In a recent interview with Fars News Agency, Iran’s state-controlled media, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi questioned the authenticity and reliability of President Obama’s recent announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed.
Mr. Vahidi is no run-of-the-mill military bureaucrat. A known terrorist, he has spent years on Interpol’s most wanted list for the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and injured hundreds.
“Bin Laden’s death report,” he told reporters after a Wednesday cabinet meeting in Tehran, “is suspicious in essence, since they claim that they have discharged his body in the sea.”
Vahidi leveraged his calculated skepticism into a broader attack on U.S. credibility. “We should ask why they have not allowed an impartial party to observe this process,” he said.
Vahidi took pains to point out that if bin Laden’s death announcement is in fact true, then it would leave no more justification for the United States’ continued military presence in the region — as if al-Qaeda’s remaining leadership is of no significance.
In fact, Vahidi himself, while serving as chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, established a close relationship with al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Working with Zawahiri, Vahidi forged ties with al-Qaeda and engineered several attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Now, as the mullahs’ defense minister, Vahidi is directly responsible for the Iranian nuclear bomb and missile programs. What’s more, he is also in charge of the proliferation of arms to Syria, Venezuela, and terrorist organizations including Hezbollah and Hamas.
In reference to Bin Laden’s burial at sea, the lack of “impartial” observers, and the supposed lack of justification for American military involvement in Iran’s neighborhood, Ahmad Vahidi summed up his nation’s attitude as follows: “All these issues display that Americans are troubled in dealing with their strategic issues.”
With U.S. soldiers opposite both Iran’s borders and a stubborn reform movement within, Vahidi is certainly one to talk.