Cablegate Chronicles: Iran's Ninjas

This is an installment from our on-going series on the adventures of American diplomats and the people they monitor. The button below will take you to another random episode.

new story button.png


Iran's martial arts masters are being pressured to act as enforcers and assassins, one claims.

FROM: BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE


Browse the Cablegate Chronicle archive.

Iranian Martial Arts Clubs Used for Political Repression --------------------------------------------- ------------

¶1. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx a licensed martial arts coach and trainer xxxxxxxxxxxx, told Baku Iran watcher that private martial arts clubs and their managers are under intense pressure to cooperate with Iranian intelligence and Revolutionary Guard organizations, both in training members and in working as "enforcers" in repression of protests and politically motivated killings. xxxxxxxxxxxx who provided originals of his Iranian coaching license and technical certificate as xxxxxxxxxxxx. He claimed that his xxxxxxxxxxxx with difficulty maintained its independence from control by organizations affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard and/or intelligence service. xxxxxxxxxxxx

¶2. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx observed that Iranian internal security forces are highly suspicious of these clubs as potential vehicles for organization and "combat" training of future protesters and regime opponents. Nonetheless, he asserted that their main motivation is seeking to control these clubs is less driven by such fears as by a desire to deploy their trained membership at will for "special tasks." According to xxxxxxxxxxxx these tasks range from providing martial arts training to Revolutionary Guard members and Basij, assistance in protest repression, intimidation, and crowd control, to political killings. He observed that use of these clubs and their members provides the security forces with "plausible deniability" for dirty undertakings, as well as trained fighters and potential trainers.

Alleged Contract Killings -------------------------

¶3. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx said he personally knew one such martial arts master whom he said was used by the Intelligence service to murder at least six different individuals over the course of several months in xxxxxxxxxxxx said that the victims included intellectuals and young "pro-democracy activists," adding that his assassin acquaintance was ultimately "suicided" by the authorities (i.e., killed in what was subsequently labeled a suicide). xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed that his club was raided and greatly restricted xxxxxxxxxxxx after he and the club manager refused to train Basij or lend them their facilities. He said that they also refused to mobilize their membership to assist in repressing local protesters xxxxxxxxxxxx. Although he has stopped working at the school, he claimed to be under relentless pressure to cooperate, xxxxxxxxxxxx

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

Video

Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in Global

Just In