On the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Iran, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad has asked him to resolve the “conspiracy” behind New Delhi’s claim that Iranian citizens were involved in a terror attack in the heart of the capital four years ago.
The Delhi Police had claimed that six Iranian citizens were involved in the attack on an Israeli diplomat on February 13, 2012. According to the police, a man on a motorcycle attached a bomb to an Israeli embassy car. The diplomat, her driver and two bystanders were injured in the blast.
The Delhi Police had claimed the attack to be “a case of international terrorism”, and said the Iranian citizens were helped by journalist S M A Kazmi, who worked for an Iranian news agency. Kazmi was arrested in March 2012, but was later released on bail.
Jawad, who heads the Shia Council of India and is reported to be close to the BJP, said they are convinced that Iran was not involved in the attack. “It was a conspiracy to connect Iran with a terrorist attack in India. Kazmi was dragged into it because he had been vocal about the proposed sanctions against Iran, pleading that such a move wasn’t in India’s interest. He was also writing on Israel’s involvement in terrorist attacks on nuclear scientists in Iran,” Jawad told The Sunday Express. “It was part of a witch hunt against the (Shia) community here who are fighting against the government on the land grab issue at Shah-e-Mardan shrine in South Delhi,’’ he said.
“The accusation of terrorism is a serious issue. Now that Prime Minister Modi is going on his first visit to Tehran, with an aim to strengthen our country’s relations with Iran, he must resolve this issue first. Otherwise, how can India have good relations with Iran while they accuse its citizens of being involved in a terrorist attack in Delhi? You can’t accuse a country falsely and then wish to have friendly relations with it as well,” said Jawad.
He said it was also Tehran’s responsibility to resolve this issue first. “We are aware that it was a much bigger conspiracy to drag Iran, as well as the Shia community here, in terrorism (charges). In fact, it was a conspiracy against India and India’s interests. The false case against Kazmi was also part of this conspiracy,’’ he said.
In its letters rogatory, handed over by a Delhi Police team which visited Tehran in August 2012, India maintained that six Iranian citizens, including a woman — Houshang Afshar Irani, Syed Ali Mahdiansadr, Mohammadreza Abolghasemi, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, Ali Akbar Norouzishayan and Leila Rohani — were involved in planning and executing the attack.
Tehran, however, said none of its citizens were involved. Following a request from the Delhi Police, the CBI also approached the Interpol, which issued red corner notices against four Iranians — Houshang Afshar Irani, Syed Ali Mahdiansadr, Mohammadreza Abolghasemi and Masoud Sedaghatzadeh.