Nosratollah Tajik, Former Iranian Ambassador

Nosratollah Tajik, Former Iranian Ambassador

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

09 Jun 2008, 22:48 #1

Outrage at London sting by US spies
By CHRISTOPHER LEAKE, Mail on Sunday
Last updated at 21:41 11 November 2006

Undercover American agents are staging secret 'sting' operations in Britain against criminal and terrorist suspects they want to extradite to the US.

In a recent operation, agents from America's Department of Homeland Security set up a suspect by posing as dealers wanting to illegally sell night-vision goggles for export to Iran.

The spies arranged a series of clandestine meetings in London hotels, which they secretly filmed as evidence. It is thought to be the first time American agents have been caught using such sting tactics in Britain.


Urgent questions were being asked about whether the British Government had been aware of the operation. If so, it raises issues of the State collaborating with foreign agencies to entrap suspects - and if not it raises the spectre of American spies working unchecked on British soil.

Human rights campaigners demanded an explanation from Home Secretary John Reid and Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

The case has provoked a huge row because the agents used tactics banned in Britain. In addition, the offence of which he is accused would not be a crime in this country. If British police officers had employed this type of sting, the ensuing case would almost certainly be thrown out of court.

In July 2003, ten defendants accused of laundering £15million walked free from Southwark Crown Court after Judge George Bathurst-Norman described police actions as 'massively illegal'. The judge said a police sting aimed at trapping them had 'overstepped the line between legitimate crime detection and unacceptable crime creation'.

Following the US spy sting an Iranian-born businessman - named by Whitehall officials last night as former Iranian ambassador to Jordan Nosratollah Tajik - now faces extradition to America.


Mr Tajik, who has lived with his family in Britain for several years, is accused of conspiring to sell military equipment to Islamic extremists. He was arrested on the Americans' behalf by British police officers before the alleged deal went ahead and detained in prison for a week.

The sting operation also raises new questions about Britain's one-sided extradition arrangements with the United States, under which British citizens can be sent across the Atlantic for trial with ease.

It is much harder for British authorities to extradite American citizens to the UK.

During the operation, the undercover American agents, who were unarmed, claimed they wanted to sell night-vision goggles, said to be worth £50,000, for export to Iran, in breach of US export controls.

Mr Tajik, who is 52 and was recently in hospital with a serious illness, has since been released on substantial bail and has reported daily to a police station near his Durham home. He is an honorary fellow of Durham University's Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and has an engineering degree from the University of Westminster.

Mr Tajik is now due to appear at an extradition hearing at City of Westminster magistrates court on December 4.

The Mail on Sunday understands Mr Tajik's legal team will claim he has no terrorist connections or criminal record and that the American agents acted illegally as 'agents provocateurs' by trapping him.

Sources close to Mr Tajik say he feels he is being made a scapegoat for America's opposition to Iran, and the case could widen the rift between America and Iran because of Mr Tajik's former diplomatic role.

According to a witness at a House of Representatives inquiry into state-sponsored terrorism in Iran in February last year, Mr Tajik was one of several Iranian diplomats recruiting Palestinians to establish terrorist cells.

Matthew Levitt, director of terrorism studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said: "Iran actively recruits Palestinians for terrorist training in its camps."

He added: "Iran arranged for free travel, medical treatment and terrorist training for Palestinians who had been wounded in the violence in the Middle East who then returned to the Palestinian territories to establish terrorist cells. Among those involved in the recruitment drive were...Iranian ambassador to Jordan Nosratollah Tajik."

Iran, along with Syria, is also the main sponsor of Hezbollah.

It is not known whether the sting operation is connected to a British investigation launched in August after Israel accused Britain of indirectly supplying Hezbollah terrorists with military night-vision equipment that helped them target Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.

The batch of 250 systems, each stamped "Made in Britain', was discovered by Israeli troops in Hezbollah command bunkers in southern Lebanon. Israel demanded to know whether the night-vision gear was part of a batch sold by Britain to Iran in 2003 for use against drug smugglers.


The sting comes just days after it was revealed that Home Office Ministers signed away crucial British extradition rights with America without holding a single meeting with their US counterparts. The Government last month defeated attempts to block further 'fast-track' extraditions despite a rebellion by backbench Labour MPs.

Critics of the 2003 treaty claim that the burden of proof now required makes it too easy for US authorities to demand that British subjects stand trial in America, as demonstrated by the recent case of the NatWest Three.

British bankers Gary Mulgrew, David Bermingham and Giles Derby fought a long-running but unsuccessful battle to avoid extradition on fraud charges related to the collapse of energy giant Enron. They were extradited in July, and were not allowed to return to the UK despite being granted bail. Their trial will be held in Houston, Texas, next year.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said last night: "We already have a one-sided extradition arrangement that allows people to be bundled off to America without so much as a by-your-leave. Now we have US agents operating in Britain entrapping people into criminality in the first place.

"The Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary must tell us the nature of these agents' operations in Britain."

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said last night: "The case of rendition flights to transport American prisoners for interrogation in other countries raised concerns about the degree to which the American security services run operations on British soil without the full knowledge of the British Government.

"Everyone wants the British and American security services to co-operate well, but we don't want a situation in which American authorities can act on British soil with complete impunity and without regard for British domestic law."

The Metropolitan Police refused to comment on the case. A spokesman said: "We do not discuss our investigative techniques, but we do nothing that is illegal and we work to Home Office guidelines."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware that this man is wanted by the US Government on charges of alleged arms sales. The matter is before the courts, so we cannot comment."

Source
US agents order raid on Iranian academic
By Gavin Engelbrecht

A FORMER diplomat is facing extradition after a raid on his home in a North-East village at the request of US anti- terror agents.

Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, was detained by officers from the Metropolitan Police, who travelled to his County Durham home following an undercover operation at a London hotel carried out by US agents.

Members of the US Department of Homeland Security posed as arms dealers want-ing to illegally sell night- vision goggles for export to Iran. They allegedly arranged a series of meetings in London hotels, which they secretly filmed as evidence. The operation is thought to be the first time US agents have been caught using such sting tactics in Britain.

Mr Tajik, who has lived with his family in Britain for several years, is an honorary fellow of Durham University's Institute for Middle East and Islamic Studies.

He was arrested by British police officers before the alleged deal went ahead and was detained in prison for a week.

Police said he is accused of conspiring to sell military equipment to Islamic extremists.

Since his arrest, Mr Tajik - who was recently in hospital with a serious illness - has been released on bail and has reported daily to a police station near his home in Beechfield Rise, Coxhoe, on the outskirts of Durham City.

In an unrelated matter, The Northern Echo has learned that Mr Tajik was named in a 2005 US House of Representatives inquiry into state-sponsored terrorism by Iran, as being involved in setting up Hezbollah cells in Palestine.

Mr Tajik yesterday refused to comment on the allegations surrounding his arrest.

His neighbours spoke of their shock at his arrest.

A woman, who did not want to be identified, said: "Mr Tajik and his family have lived here for a number of years. I can't believe he is accused of selling arms to extremists."

Another neighbour said: "Mr Tajik seems such a quiet, timid man. He is friendly, quiet-spoken and well-mannered."

The arrest has prompted criticism from human rights campaigners. A spokesman for Liberty said last night: "We already have a one-sided extradition arrangement that allows people to be bundled off to America without so much as a by-your-leave.

"Now we have US agents operating in Britain, entrapping people into criminality in the first place. We need an explanation."

Mr Tajik is due to appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on December 4 in an extradition hearing, where his legal team are expected to claim he has no terrorist connections or criminal record, and that the US agents acted illegally as "agents provocateurs" by trapping him.

Sources close to Mr Tajik say he feels he is being made a scapegoat
for the US's opposition to Iran.

The operation has caused controversy because it has not been confirmed whether the Government was made aware of events while they were in progress.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "We do not discuss our investigative techniques, but we do nothing illegal and we work to Home Office guidelines."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are aware this man is wanted by the US government on charges of alleged arms sales. The matter is before the courts so we cannot comment."

A Durham University spokesman said: "As former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, and in line with the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies' policy of engaging with members of the Middle-Eastern policy community to enhance relations with the Islamic world, Nosratollah Tajik was accepted as an honorary fellow of the institute upon his arrival in Durham in 2004.

"In 2005, Mr Tajik provided short-term cover to the university's Language Centre, teaching Farsi to a small class of undergraduate students.

"These teaching responsibilities ended earlier this year, and Mr Tajik is not on the university's payroll."


According to a witness at a House of Representatives inquiry into state-sponsored terrorism last year, Mr Tajik was one of several Iranian diplomats recruiting Palestinians to establish terrorist cells.

6:01am Tuesday 14th November 2006

Source
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 15:42 GMT

Arms accused facing extradition

A former Iranian diplomat accused of being involved in an international arms smuggling ring could be extradited.

Nosratollah Tajik, 53, of Coxhoe, Co Durham is accused of being the British link in a £1.5m conspiracy to supply military hardware to his home country.

He was allegedly filmed discussing the deal in a London office by US officials who want him to be sent to America.

Mr Tajik was bailed by the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court until 30 January for a further hearing.

Arms embargo

Mr Tajik's legal team claiming the Americans acted illegally and have accused them of entrapping him on British soil.

But District Judge Caroline Tubbs turned down a request for more details into the circumstances surrounding the US investigation.

She said: "I am not of the view that further information or evidence is required to enable me to make a final determination as to whether an abuse of process has occurred or not."


An earlier court hearing was told how Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, is accused of being the UK link in an illegal arms network that spans the US, Holland and Turkey.

Mr Tajik, who was appointed an honorary fellow at Durham University in 2004, is accused of trying to supply night-vision weapons to Iran, which is under an arms embargo.

Source
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 19:25 GMT

Arms-deal accused 'lives in fear'

The family of a former Iranian diplomat fighting extradition to the United States are living in constant fear of attacks, a court has heard.

Nosratollah Tajik, of Coxhoe, County Durham, was arrested last November and accused of conspiracy to supply military hardware to his home country.

His son has since been bullied and his house attacked, according to his wife.

City of Westminster Magistrates' Court adjourned the case for another hearing on 20 March.

Mr Tajik, 53, was allegedly filmed discussing a deal in a London office by US officials, who are now seeking his extradition.

His legal team claims the Americans acted illegally by entrapping a man on British soil.

Mahboubeh Sadghi'nia, Mr Tajik's student wife, told the court their family life had been shattered by his arrest.

She said: "We have had our home and car attacked four times and with these physical attacks we do not feel safe or secure anymore.

"All the time, we are waiting for something. I do not go to the university anymore, but stay (at home)."


'Night vision'

Fears for his health are strong because he has a family history of heart problems. It killed his father and, in 1996, his six-year-old daughter.

All his brothers also have heart problems, the court heard.

An earlier court hearing was told how the former Iranian ambassador to Jordan is accused of being the UK link in an illegal arms network that spans the US, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Mr Tajik, who was briefly appointed an honorary fellow at Durham University in 2004, is accused of trying to supply weapons to Iran, which is under an arms embargo.

The court heard allegations of a deal involving hi-tech weapons sights, some of which could be used underwater, and night-vision binoculars.

Source
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK

Court supports US extradition bid

A former Iranian diplomat accused by the US of arms smuggling, should be extradited to America to face trial, a court has ruled.

Two US agents claim to have secretly filmed Nosratollah Tajik, 53, of Coxhoe, County Durham, discussing a deal to equip Iran with military goods.

His lawyers claim the agents acted illegally by entrapping him on UK soil.

But at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday the judge said there was no reason to block the extradition.

The former Iranian Ambassador to Jordan is alleged to have been the UK link in an £1.5m illegal arms network spanning the US, the Netherlands and Turkey.

'Prosecution appropriate'

Mr Tajik, who lives in Coxhoe with his wife and two sons, is accused of trying to supply night-vision weapons sights to Iran, which is under an arms embargo.

His legal team claims the Americans acted illegally by entrapping a man on UK soil when they secretly filmed him in November 2006.

They also said he should not be prosecuted in the US for crimes alleged to have occurred in the UK, and that America was pursuing him on the basis of his religion, nationality and politics.

But District Judge Caroline Tubbs ruled it was appropriate for Mr Tajik to face prosecution in the US as the "intended effect of the alleged actions was to bring about harm within the US" by exporting equipment from America directly or indirectly to Iran.

She also said that there was no evidence of an abuse of process in the actions of the US agents, or that Mr Tajik's prosecution was politically motivated.


Mr Tajik, who was appointed an honorary fellow at Durham University briefly during 2004, was released on bail and informed he had the right to appeal against the ruling.

Source
Academic to face US arms deal charges
By Mark Summers

A JUDGE has ruled that a former Iranian diplomat living in the North-East should be extradited to the US to face charges of trying to buy military equipment for his homeland.

Nosratollah Tajik, 53, of Coxhoe, County Durham, who was an honorary fellow at Durham University, has been accused of being the British link in a £1.5m international arms-smuggling ring spanning the US, Holland and Turkey.

Mr Tajik, who was Iran's ambassador to Jordan between 1999 and 2003, was arrested last autumn after US agents from the Department of Homeland Security allegedly filmed him secretly in London hotels discussing a deal for night-vision weapons sights worth more than £50,000.

Iran, which has been branded a "rogue state'' and accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism in neighbouring Iraq, is the subject of an arms embargo.

Mr Tajik, who lives with his wife, Mahboubeh Sadghi'nia, and two sons, has an engineering degree from the University of Westminster. In 2004, he taught Farsi at Durham University's Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

His legal team claimed the US acted illegally by entrapping a man on British soil and argued that the evidence obtained in the operation would not be admissible under English law.

They also fought the extradition request on the grounds that he should not be prosecuted in the US for crimes allegdly committed in this country.


His lawyers claimed the US was pursuing him because of his religion, nationality and politics.

But at yesterday's hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, in London, District Judge Caroline Tubbs ruled that it was appropriate that Mr Tajik be prosecuted in the US.

She told the court that the "intended effect of the alleged actions was to bring about harm within the US" by exporting equipment from America directly or indirectly to Iran.

She also said there was no evidence of an abuse of process in the actions of the US agents or any evidence that Mr Tajik's prosecution was politically motivated.

Mr Tajik also fought his extradition on the grounds of ill health, because he is suffering from heart disease and angina and has undergone recent treatment, as well as on human rights grounds.

But the judge ruled there was nothing exceptional in his personal circumstances that would merit blocking the extradition and referred the case to the Secretary of State.


Mr Tajik has the right to appeal against the court's ruling and was released on bail.

Mr Tajik's wife, a student, told a previous hearing that her family's life had been shattered.

She said: "We have had our home and car attacked four times, and with these attacks we do not feel safe or secure any more. All the time we are waiting for something. I do not go to the university any more, but stay at home."

In 2005, Mr Tajik was alleged to have been involved in a recruitment drive for Palestinian terrorist operations in Israel while he was a diplomat.

The allegation was made by Matthew A Levitt, director of terrorism studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, during a US House of Representatives inquiry.


6:03am Friday 20th April 2007

Source
Setback for ex-diplomat fighting US extradition
By Mark Tallentire

A FORMER diplomat accused of trying to smuggle military equipment to Iran has suffered a setback in his fight against moves to extradite him to the US.

Nosratollah Tajik, who served as Iran's ambassador to Jordan from 1999 to 2003, went to the High Court in an attempt to overturn a ruling that he be sent to the US to face charges.

However, the appeal has been rejected, leaving Mr Tajik, who lives in Coxhoe, near Durham City, with days to decide whether to fight on.

A former honorary fellow of Durham University, he could seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords.


Last night, his lawyer confirmed a court judgement had been made, but was unable to comment further.

However, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry said Mr Tajik would not appeal, in protest at the "lack of independence of the British judiciary system".

Speaking last week, Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the court ruling was "politically motivated, predetermined and unjust".

The US Government says Mr Tajik was the UK link in an illegal arms network spanning three continents. He is wanted in connection with a sting operation carried out at a London hotel.

Undercover officers from the US Department of Homeland Security posed as arms dealers wanting to sell night vision goggles for export to Iran.

An earlier extradition hearing heard Mr Tajik had been filmed meeting the agents and discussing the subject.

Mr Tajik's lawyers claimed the officers acted illegally and the US was pursuing him because of his religion, nationality and politics.

However, at Westminster Magistrates' Court last year, District Judge Caroline Tubbs ruled it was appropriate for him to be prosecuted in the US.

Last night, a Home Office spokeswoman said Mr Tajik had 14 days following the latest ruling to decide if he will appeal to the House of Lords.

The Home Secretary signed his extradition papers last year and, if no further appeal is made, the extradition could go ahead, she added.


Mr Tajik lives with his wife, Mahboubeh Sadghi'nia and has two sons.

He taught Farsi at Durham University's Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

8:51am Wednesday 23rd April 2008

Source
Tajik's case sent to European court
Wed, 21 May 2008 14:21:26
Nosratollah Tajik

The British High Court has rejected an appeal by a former Iranian diplomat, sending his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

"Now, the European Court of Human Rights must give its verdict on whether the extradition of the (Nosratollah) Tajik to the US is in accordance with international human rights treaties and standards," said an informed source close to the case.


"If the appeal had been accepted and his case sent to the House of Lords Judicial Committee, it would have taken at least a year for it to be heard, but now that judiciary action in complete, there is no further right to re-appeal," the source added.

The source said he hoped the European court would overturn the British High Court's verdict for Iran's former ambassador to Jordan to be extradited to the United States.

"In that case, Tajik who is no good physical shape would be released," said the source. Tajik, who has undergone recent treatment, suffers from heart disease.

In April 2008, the British High Court upheld a former ruling that Tajik should be sent to the US to face charges, forcing his lawyer to launch an appeal.

Tajik, arrested in November 2006, was accused of trying to purchase night vision goggles for Iran from US mediators.

Tajik is a citizen of Coxhoe, Durham County, along with his wife and two sons. After retiring from his diplomatic post in 2003, he joined Durham University as an honorary fellow.

According to British media reports, undercover FBI agents, posing as military equipment traders, proposed a deal to Tajik for the sale of night vision goggles said to be worth £50,000, for export to Iran, in breach of US export controls.

The spies arranged a series of clandestine meetings in London hotels, which they secretly filmed as evidence.

Tajik's legal team has argued he has no terrorist connections or criminal record and that the American agents acted illegally as 'agents provocateurs' by trapping him.

MJ/BGH

Source
"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro
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Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

09 Jun 2008, 22:50 #2

"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro
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Like