Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Lockerbie bomber 'set up' as new TV probe points the finger at Iran

By James Cusick

A new investigation into the Lockerbie disaster claims the only man convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 was set up.

A three-year probe for an Al Jazeera documentary has suggested that the Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was a pawn in Middle East politics.

The documentary includes an interview with former Iranian intelligence officer Abolghassem Mesbahi, who blames Iran for the 270 deaths in the 1988 terror attack over Scotland.

He claims that the bombing was ordered by Tehran and was carried out by the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

He said it was in retaliation for a US Navy strike on an Iranian commercial jet six months earlier in which 290 people died.

Mr Mesbahi tells the programme: "Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible. The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini.

"The target of the Iranian decision makers was to copy exactly what's happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead. This was the target of the Iranian decision makers."

Megrahi, who was released from jail by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, died in 2012 protesting his innocence.

British relatives of the victims are now poised to apply to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in the hope of having Megrahi's conviction overturned.

Dr Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora died in the bombing, said: "We as relatives have a right to know who killed our families and why the British Government and authorities responsible for the safety of the aircraft failed in their duty. Until we get the answer to those questions, we are not going away."

The documentary names the Syrian-based Ahmed Jibril as the mastermind behind the PFLP-GC operation, claiming he was recruited and paid to deliver the Ayatollah's revenge.

The programme highlights evidence, never examined by a Scottish court, alleging that the case against Megrahi was "directed off course" by political interference from both Washington and London.

Al Jazeera suggests this was because Washington believed it needed Syria's support in the emerging tension between the United States and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph