After more than three decades since an Iranian plot to
attack Saudi Arabia, the son of the first deputy under Iran’s former Supreme
Leader Ruhollah Khomeini has shaken the ground under the feet of the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard Corps (IRGC).
Shia cleric Ahmad Montazeri, son of the late Iranian revolutionary leader Hossein Ali Montazeri, has brought to light interesting details that reveal the involvement of the IRGC, along with former and current Iranian officials, in the transfer of explosives in the baggage of pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj in 1986. The attempted attack was ultimately thwarted by the Saudi authorities at the time.
In a press statement, Ahmad Montazeri said those involved were six members of the Revolutionary Guards, as well as former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
He also mentioned the involvement of former Iranian Defense Minister and Revolutionary Guard Commander Ali Shamkhani, who is currently the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The Shia cleric explained that Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist cleric and leader of the Iranian Green Movement, had then been forced, as Khomeini’s representative for Hajj affairs, to make an apology to the late Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud after Saudi security forces thwarted the transfer of the explosives.
According to Montazeri, his father had reported the details of the event in his personal diary and had sent a message to Khomeini after the incident in objection to the conduct of the Revolutionary Guards.
Official records in the kingdom indicate that during the Hajj season of 1986, the kingdom’s security forces foiled the Iranian plot when Saudi security and customs officials uncovered 51 kilograms of highly explosive C-4.
The records confirm that Iranian elements hid the explosives in the bags of Iranian pilgrims to be used in bombings at the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.
Ahmad Montazeri had previously been sentenced to six in prison for publishing a recording of his father condemning the execution of thousands of prisoners in 1988 at the end of the Iran’s eight-year war with Iraq. His sentence was suspended in March 2017.
His father, Hossein Ali Montazeri had been one of the founding fathers of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and was set to succeed Khomeini before Ali Khamenei was promoted and selected to become the country’s new leader following the death of Khomeini in 1989. Montazeri had become a critic of regime, arguing that post-revolutionary Iran was not being ruled as an Islamic state, saying in 2008, "Unfortunately, it is only by name that the revolution remains Islamic. Its content has changed, and what is taking place in the name of Islam gives a bad image of the religion.”
Hossein Ali Montazeri had been placed under house arrest by Khamenei in 1997 but was released in 2003 due to the regime’s fear of backlash if the popular cleric died in custody. Once released, he continued to criticize Iran’s regime, its nuclear and economic policies, its violations of human rights and its spread of terrorism until his death in 2009. Seen as a grandfather of Iran’s modern reform movement, his funeral added fuel to the 2009 uprising against the regime.