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Intelligence Official: Ruhollah Zam's Abduction was Enabled by France

November 9, 2021
3 min read
Intelligence Official: Ruhollah Zam's Abduction was Enabled by France

An ex-official in the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has claimed dissident blogger Ruhollah Zam was abducted in 2019 with the help of the French security services. Speaking to the Iranian news site Event-24, Akbar Khoskhushk claimed the two countries were “dealing with each other. They ask each other for favors.”

Zam, the founder of opposition Telegram channel Amad News, had lived in Paris for years with his wife and two daughters before he was lured to Baghdad, Iraq in October 2019. Expecting an interview with Ayatollah Sistani, he was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Guards and taken to a detention center in Syria, then to Iran, where the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death. He was hanged on December 12, 2020.

Khoshkushk, a former security official, said the IRGC was enabled in the plot by the French foreign intelligence service (the DGSE), which was seeking the release of a French officer “captured by the forces of resistance” – the Islamic Republic, Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah – while infiltrating ISIS.  

“The French security services called the Iranian service,” Khoskhushk went on, “and say ‘One of our high-ranking officers has been taken prisoner... Iran must show compasssion and release him. Follow-ups by the Iranian side revealed that the person requested by the French intelligence service was not a low-level agent but a high ranking official.”

“IRGC intelligence had provided a good trap. This kind of work needs to be planned such a way as to have excuses, so that French will not be blamed."

In exchange, Khoskhushk claimed, French security agents monitored Zam’s movements on the journey from Paris to Baghdad, then alerted the IRGC when Zam came to the French embassy in the Iraqi capital. He then went to Najaf, Khoskhushk said, where with the help of a female journalist working for the IRGC “with the cooperation of Turkey” he was apprehended and taken to the border. Shirin Najafi, Zam’s colleague, was also arrested.

"When Ruhollah Zam crossed the Iranian border and entered the country,” Khoskhushk said, “the French security officer was transferred from Damascus to Istanbul, where he was handed over to the French.”

Khoskhushk, who is widely believed to have played a decisive role in the chain murders of dissidents and intellectuals in the late 1980s and 1990s, went on to claim that the Turkish intelligence and security agency (the MIT) had also “always worked with us for the last 40 years”.

He claimed the MIT had previously handed over Frood Fouladvand, the founder of opposition group Kingdom Assembly of Iran (also known as Tondar) in 2007 in exchange for “a person wanted by the Turks”. Habib Chaab, a leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, had, he said, not been kidnapped but “extradited to Iran” by Turkey last year.

Neither the French nor the Turkish authorities have responded to Khoskhushk’s claims.

Related coverage:

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IranWire Exclusive: Grand Ayatollah's Office Denounces "Cowardly" Kidnapping of Ruhollah Zam

Journalist Ruhollah Zam Executed in Iran

Lawyer Remembers Last Meeting With Dissident Journalist

Iranian Intelligence Agents Busted in Turkey Kidnap Attempt

Kidnapped Dissident Habib Chaab Indicted in Iran

Iran Hires Criminals and Drug Dealers to Kidnap Its Opponents



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