Killers on the Loose in Iran
Al-Reuters reports that Iran's deputy minister of industry, Mr. Safdar Rahmat Abadi, was killed on Sunday evening as he got into his car in Tehran. He was shot in the head and the chest, and two shell casings were found in his vehicle.
If those are true facts, Minister Abadi was likely killed by someone he knew and did not fear. There don't seem to be any suspects at the moment (no surprise there; all the usual suspects have by now been rounded up by the Rouhani government, and aren't let out of jail to kill high-ranking government officials). Reuters ponders the significance of the event, noting that the assassination of a top official in the central government is rare, although plenty of local officials, Revolutionary Guards, and other security officers have been killed.
Like the attack on security personnel in Baluchistan, for example. Late in October, 14 border guards were killed. By somebody. The killers were not identified, but the Rouhani regime took the opportunity to kill 16 Baluchis who were, a local judge said, "linked to terrorism." Such events are now so common as to verge on the routine. Ergo, there are plenty of Iranians eager for revenge.
Still, it's not obvious that the deputy minister of industry has been involved in the murder of his fellow citizens. If I had to guess at a motive, it would be rage over some seizure of property or failure to pay wages or refusal to cater to the wishes of some powerful faction. It's almost impossible for Americans to imagine the extent of corruption within the regime. Reuters is trying to educate us, to their credit, publishing an investigation of the wealth of the supreme leader. So far, only the first of three articles has appeared, but it's pretty eye-opening. Reuters credits Khamenei for a personal -- not institutional, but personal -- fortune of about $95 billion. A lot of that came from taking away the property of his fellow Iranians. Indeed, the article begins with just such a case, an 82-year-old woman who lost her home, and those of her kids, because the leader wanted them.
In addition to underestimating Iranian corruption, we also underestimate the extent of internal conflict. There's a lot of fighting among several factions, ranging from the Khamenei family to two or three elements of the Revolutionary Guards, the high clergy in Qom, the bazaaris, the Ahmadinejad loyalists, and the Larijani mafia. The regime is riven by a war of all against all, especially as Khamenei's health periodically worsens, and his foreign doctors perform their miracles to enable him to function.
The factions are fighting for power and wealth, and I would not be surprised to see other top officials killed or wounded in the weeks and months to come.
Yet another reason for the West to maintain or increase pressure on the Iranian tyrants, and support the oppressed people of that most unhappy land.
(Thumbnail on PJM homepage created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)