Arrow-right Camera


Spy Says Khomeini Ordered Jet Bombing

Sun., July 6, 1997, midnight

German officials are looking into information from a former top Iranian spy that the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, a magazine reported.

The weekly Der Spiegel said the investigation was being led by the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office. Neither would comment Saturday on the report.

According to Spiegel, the tip came from Abolghassem Mesbahi, a co-founder of the Iranian intelligence service who later went into exile.

Mesbahi’s testimony last year helped German prosecutors link the 1992 killings of four Iranian dissidents in Berlin to Iran’s rulers in a verdict announced in April.

Spiegel said Mesbahi told investigators Khomeini ordered the terror attack as retaliation for the downing of an Iranian passenger jet over the Strait of Hormuz by a U.S. warship in July 1988.

It said Tehran asked the Libyan government and top terrorist Abu Nidal for help.

According to the report, Iran Air’s representative in Frankfurt at the time smuggled parts for the bomb through airport security in Frankfurt. The bomb was assembled in London and placed on board Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York.

The explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

In 1991, U.S. prosecutors indicted two Libyan intelligence agents on charges related to the bombing. The United Nations has imposed economic sanctions on Libya because of leader Moammar Gadhafi’s refusal to turn them over for trial.


Click here to comment on this story »