German leader urged to resign over Iran policy

April 12, 1997
Web posted at: 10:38 p.m. EDT (0238 GMT)

BONN, Germany (AP) -- Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel wants to redefine relations with Iran following a Berlin court ruling that Iranian leaders gave orders to kill four dissidents in the German capital in 1992, a newspaper said Saturday.

The Hamburg-based Welt am Sonntag said, however, that Kinkel, one of Europe's staunchest supporters of relations with Iran, still rejects cutting ties entirely.

Willfried Penner, chairman of the Interior Committee and a member of the opposition Social Democrats, said Kinkel should resign and let Germany "work out a new policy on Iran."

"Even more appropriate would be breaking relations," he told a German newspaper.

Report: Iranian aide linked to Saudi bombing suspects

April 13, 1997
Web posted at: 1:12 p.m. EDT (1712 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and Saudi intelligence officials have linked a senior Iranian government official to a group of Shiite Muslims suspected of bombing a U.S. military compound in Saudi Arabia last year, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Citing U.S. and Arab officials, the Post said intelligence information indicates Brig. Ahmad Sherifi, a senior Iranian intelligence officer and a top official in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, met about two years before the bombing with a Saudi Shiite arrested March 18 in Canada.

Canadian court records say the man arrested in Canada, Hani Abd Rahim Sayegh, fled Saudi Arabia shortly after the June 25 bombing that killed 19 American servicemen and wounded more than 500 others.

Sayegh, 28, has been identified by Canadian authorities as "a direct participant" in the truck bomb explosion at the Khobar Towers complex. Canadian court documents identify him as a member of Saudi Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed group of militant Shiite Muslims.

The Post said the intelligence linking Sherifi to Sayegh has persuaded a growing number of officials in Washington and Riyadh of Iran's direct involvement in the attack.

But the paper also reports that several other U.S. officials believe the fragmentary evidence available is insufficient to firmly establish an Iranian link.

Faced with similar assertions in the past, Iran has firmly denied any involvement in the bombing.

The paper said much of the evidence linking the man held in Canada with an Iranian contact is based on intercepts of telephone calls he made from Canada to his wife and family in Saudi Arabia before he was arrested.

The Post quoted its sources as saying Sayegh disclosed in those calls details of his role in the bombing and mentioned others with whom he had collaborated.