Astute readers may have noticed in my Tuesday Khatami post
that Judge Lamberth blames the Iranian government for instigating a 1983 attack through a terrorist organization that was founded in 1984.
No, Iran didn't get hold of that time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future
. Lamberth's ruling
(PDF file) established that Hezbollah existed as a faction within another organization known as Amal as early as 1982, and that since that time Hezbollah was being directed by the Iranian government's Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS).
The key evidence linking Iran to the bombing is cited on pages 12 and 13 of the ruling:
The complicity of Iran in the 1983 attack was established conclusively at trial by the testimony of Admiral James A. Lyons, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operation from 1983-85. As deputy chief, Admiral Lyons routinely received intelligence information about American military forces. On October 25, 1983, the chief of naval intelligence notified Admiral Lyons of an intercept of a message between Tehran and Damascus that had been made on or about September 26, 1983. The message had been sent from MOIS to the Iranian ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, who presently serves as an adviser to the president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami. The message directed the Iranian ambassador to contact Hussein Musawi, the leader of the terrorist group Islamic Amal, and to instruct him to have his group instigate attacks against the multinational coalition in Lebanon, and "to take a spectacular action against the United States Marines."
Pages 13-15 connects the dots between Mohtashemi and Hezbollah:
Although it is not presently known whether Ambassador Mohtashemi contacted Musawi, evidence was presented at trial that Mohtashemi did proceed to contact a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (“IRG”), and instructed him to instigate the Marine barracks bombing. The Court heard the videotaped deposition testimony of a Hezbollah member known by the pseudonym "Mahmoud," who was a member of the group that carried out the October 23 attack. Mahmoud, a Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim, testified that Ambassador Mohtashemi contacted a man named Kanani, the leader of the Lebanese headquarters of the IRG. Mohtashemi instructed Kanani to go forward with attacks that had been planned against the 24th MAU [24th Marine Amphibious Unit] and the French paratroopers [Third Company, Sixth French Parachute Infantry Regiment]. Mahmoud testified that a meeting was later held in Baalbek, Lebanon, which was attended by Kanani and Sheik Sobhi Tufaili, Sheik Abbas Musawi, and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah is the present leader of Hezbollah. Musawi, Nasrallah’s immediate predecessor as the leader of Hezbollah, was killed in a February 16, 1992 Israeli attack. Tufaili is a former secretary general of Hezbollah.
During this meeting, Kanani and the Hezbollah members formed a plan to carry out simultaneous attacks against the American and French barracks in Lebanon.
"Whoa, did I see a familar name in that list of attendees?" Yes you did - Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, current archterrorist of Hezbollah. Ceasefire, schmeasefire - that dude should be at Guantanamo.
I plan to do a little research to dig up more details about the official founding of Hezbollah, and if Khatami was involved with any of its activities prior to 1984. One of my sources is on vacation, so I have no ETA.