Turkey and the European Union are on the same page when it comes to pursuing appeasement policies with the Iranian regime. How do the ruling mullahs of Iran repay the favor? Through assassinations and terror plots.
This month, the Turkish authorities detained an Iranian diplomat, Mohammad Reza Naderzadeh, 43, for his role in killing an Iranian dissident, Massoud Molavi Vardanjani, in November 2019. Reportedly, the Iranian diplomat was a staff member in the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul and had forged travel documents for Ali Esfandiari, who orchestrated the assassination of Molavi Vardanjani.
The Iranian regime, it seems, targeted Molavi Vardanjani because of his social media campaign to expose corruption in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its elite Quds Force branch, and the theocrats' military establishment. After serving as an intelligence officer for the Iranian government, he defected. "I will root out the corrupt mafia commanders...," he wrote on social media. "Pray that they don't kill me before I do this."
It is not the first time that the Iranian regime has used Turkish soil to assassinate its opponents. In 2017, Saeed Karimian, a British television executive and founder of GEM TV, which runs 17 Persian-language TV channels, was shot dead in Istanbul. Before his murder, he was convicted in absentia in Iran's revolutionary court for spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic. His killers, traveling on fake passports, were arrested in Serbia while travelling to Iran. An opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, stated that Karimian was assassinated by the IRGC on the direct orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.