A Tehran-based conservative journalist and filmmaker, who has made several trips to Iraq in recent months tells Radio Farda that the kidnapping last Wednesday of an Iranian official in Iraq was part of a plot by some Iraqis to return to Iran-Iraq hostility, in order to limit the Islamic government’s influence in Iraq. August 9, 2004 - “There are elements in Iraq who are against Iran’s successful and influential presence in Iraq, and would like to revive hostilities between the two countries,” Mohammad-Hossein Jafararian, a Tehran-based conservative journalist and filmmaker who makes frequent trips to Iraq, tells Radio Farda’s Siavash Ardalan, commenting about the possible reasons for the kidnapping last Wednesday in Iraq of an Iranian man identified as a “diplomat.”
Jafararian, a former member of Basij, the volunteer unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, links the kidnapping to the bombing last year during a Shiite mourning festival in Karbala in which scores of participants were killed. “The Polish army investigated that bombing and it is still not known who was responsible for attacking the mourners and shedding the blood of so many,” he says.
The kidnapping, he adds, was an anti-Iranian act, as last year’s Karbala bombing. “Last year’s Karbala bombers and the kidnappers of the diplomat appear to be following the same goal, which is to prevent Iranians from going to Iraq’s Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najab, because they believe that the Iranians’ pilgrimage is a guise for Iran’s interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs,” he adds.
However, he says, the diplomat’s kidnapping and the bombing of the Karbala mourners could have been the work of some hard-line Iraqi Shiite groups who are against the Shiite groups sympathetic to Iran.
“It appears that Tehran is determined to continue its diplomatic efforts in Iraq, despite the heavy price it is paying for it. This diplomacy maybe dangerous and hazardous to some in Iraq, but this does not mean that Iran should back out.”
He adds that in a recent trip to Najaf he felt he was not safe, and the main threat was from the militiamen employed by insurgent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.