Top

A BLOODY SUNDAY Vienna, Austria Sunday December 21, 1975 the third and last part Jamshid Amouzgar The late Prime Minister of Iran from 7 August 1977 to 27 August 1978 and the Minister of Interior in 1974-1977 “I did my best for the release of everyone here”, he told Yamani and me. To our dismay he followed his statement with “But to no avail.” However, in an off-hand way he told us that he had been successful in getting Carlos’s promise that no harm would befall us. He then bade us farewell and left the plane. In the meantime, the wounded man was taken to a hospital in the city, and all of the members of five delegations – namely, those of Algeria, Niger, Gabon, Venezuela and Ecuador – were released. Valentine Hernandez was overcome with emotion at his parting. He offered to take a message to my wife. But what messages could I give, except to say that I was still alive? I thanked him and wished him well. I was indeed happy that he was free. Our stop in Algiers lasted a bit more than two hours. We were soon ready for another take-off only this time with less pay-load. Mr. Abdossalam Belaid, the then Minister of Energy and Industry of Algeria volunteered to accompany us to the next port of call which was Tripoli, Lybia. It was indeed a noble gesture on his part. * * * Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani, the then-Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, is a kind, compassionate, courageous, intelligent, thoughtful man, and a most talented and conscientious person endowed with a strong sense of duty and loyalty to friends. As a brilliant debater with a sharp mind he was the star of OPEC since its formation. He always attracted more journalists, reporters, and photographers than the rest of the OPEC ministers combined. ‘Though not related to the Saudi royal family, he always bore an aristocratic demeanor. He had a long conversation with Carlos in Vienna, during the course of which Carlos had told him that after leaving Algiers and Tripoli we would be taken to Baghdad where all the remaining hostages, except him and me, would be released. We two were to be taken to South Yemen, where we would be handed over to the authorities for whatever justice they might see fit to administer. And if for any reason, the plan failed, he was sorry he had to kill him and me although he had no personal grudge against him. Yamani had kept all this conversation to himself not to scare me. I was only told by him when we were safely seated in Mr. Bouteflicka’s car at the end of the harrowing ordeal. However, considering the fact that the Iranian armed forces had taken part in the war against the South Yemen-backed rebels in Zhofar, and that the long-standing feud between the Saudis and South Yemen had hardly abated, I reflected grimly that no crystal ball was needed to foresee the kind of justice that would be meted to us. No! The future most certainly did note bode well for us. I was beginning to suffer a bout of self-pity. Why should this happen to me? Was this the reward for so many years of honest dedicated service to my country’? Was this the meaning of justice? These and other questions kept humming in my mind. And then I thought of the countless number of honest and dedicated people, those unsung heroes, who, in the prime of life had lost their lives in the service of their country, and who had not received a fraction of the benefits I was enjoying. Suddenly I felt ashamed for having succumbed to feelings of self-pity. I recalled the mystic words of Jalaluddin Roomi, the thirteenth-century Persian philosopher/poet, the beautiful translation of which by Edward G. Brown I give below – I died from mineral and plant became; Died from the plant and took a sentient frame; Died from the beast, and donned a human dress; When by my dying did I e’er grow less? But what about the agony that my wife and family will have to go through, I thought. “When we get to Baghdad I shall ask for the release of everyone”, the words of sympathy from the Iraqi Minister of Oil interrupted my gloomy thoughts. Was the man telepathic? * * * We reached Tripoli after dusk. The long stretch of bright neon lights marked the otherwise unnoticeable shoreline. The plane landed and was led to a remote part of the airport. But no one was there to meet us, and in spite of Carlos ‘s repeated attempts to establish contact through the control tower nobody came toward us! Carlos was now visibly impatient, and began to nervously pace up and down the aisle, intermittently looking at his watch. He was beginning to lose control, which made us all ever more tense. We all tried to avoid his menacing gaze. The silence was almost palpable. Long agonizing minutes later, it was broken by the roar of a motor brigade approaching our plane. Suddenly all was excitement and relief at the sight of Mr. Jallud, the Libyan Prime Minister. He warmly embraced and shook hands with Carlos and, totally ignoring us, the two of them proceeded toward the cockpit and sat down facing each other. There was a long tete-atete, from which we could not glean anything, even though we were able to see their gesticulations and lip moments- much like watching a silent movie. In the end Mr. Jallud got up, walked past us, and casting an icy glance at me, without a word left the plane. The scene was most bizarre, rather like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Upon the departure of Mr. Jallud Carlos burst into a furious tirade. “These people are not revolutionaries”, he exclaimed. ‘’They cannot handle even a simple job. They are good only for the mosque”. According to Carlos he had been promised a four-engine jet plane on arrival at Tripoli to fly us non-stop to Baghdad. To his dismay, after what he considered a humiliating delay, he was now told that Libya did not have an available plane of the required type, and that all efforts to charter one had been unsuccessful. No wonder then that he had burst into an outrage at the complete upsetting of his plans. “Perhaps with a stop in Damascus the Caravelle could make it to Baghdad”, I volunteered, in an effort to ease the tension, without realizing the problems that that would raise for Yamani and myself. “Fly to Damascus!”, exclaimed Carlos in a loud voice. “Over my dead body!” It was then that I realized the depth of resentment and rivalry that existed between the various factions struggling for the Palestinian cause. In Tripoli Carlos released the members of four more delegations. the Libyans (understandably), the Indonesians, the Iraqis, and the Kuwaitis. Before taking off from Tripoli, however, Carlos approached Yamani and me. “One member of each of your two delegations can get off here”, he said. There were four of us in the Iranian delegation. I told my three colleagues to decide amongst themselves as to which one should be freed. At first none of them was willing to go – perhaps out of loyalty to me, or fear from the uncertainty in Libya. “Look”, I counseled. ‘’This is an opportunity for one of you to go free in the company of the other delegation members. Why hesitate?” After more consultation, the youngest member of the delegate was ready to go. From the Saudi delegation too, the choice fell on a young economist, huge and redoubtable, though with a pleasant countenance. ‘’When I first saw him in the conference room”, Carlos told of him, ‘’I said to myself he could crush me with the sheer weight of his body.” But the quiet. reflective and loyal young man would not leave without his Minister. The scene was a most touching one, and showed the depth of loyalty and faithfulness of the young man toward his superior. He was still dragging his feet. “Hurry up, the car cannot wait all night”, Carlos admonished. With tears welling in his eyes the gentle giant hugged Sheikh Yamani and in a voice shaking with emotion pleaded with Carlos, “Please do not harm my Minister”. By now we were in the small hours of morning. The plane cleared the runway and once again we were air-borne. The patience, the stamina, and the selflessness of the two crew members was beyond anyone’s expectation. They were truly admirable. As the plane reached its cruising altitude I looked out through the tiny window and saw that it was a clear night and that the bright sky was studded with a myriad shining stars. An enchanting moon was lighting the night sky. It was reminiscent of many a similar night that I had spent in my youth in the seemingly boundless deserts of the Iranian plateau on trips undertaken under the aegis of the US “Point Four Program”, in the search for ground water for the small villages scattered throughout Iran. Suddenly the Big Dipper caught my attention. Since we had not been told of our next destination I could now at least figure out, with some relief, that we were heading westward. * * * Little by little physical fatigue, as well as mental stress, was taking its toll. I was dozing off involuntarily – but not for long. It seemed we were destined not to have a moment without excitement. Another unexpected event now was to shake us awake. As the plane approached the Tunisian capital, Carlos suddenly decided to try his luck in the land of Carthage. He ordered the pilot to make a landing in Tunis. The control tower apparently refused permission for landing. Carlos, now quite upset by the set-back in Libya, was livid with rage. “Land anyway!”, he barked. The plane nosed down toward the runway. But all of a sudden, the runway lights were turned off: Concerned with the safety of the plane and its passengers and very likely not familiar enough with the site, the pilot warned that it would be too risky to try landing. The plane was now rapidly loosing altitude and everybody was nervously watching Carlos, wide-eyed and waiting. “Pull up”’, he hesitantly decided. It was now clear that exhaustion, and the strains of more than forty-five hours of sleepless tension were telling on our captors as well. The strain must have been extreme, for they had to be constantly on the alert. The female member of the group, apparently suffering from some stomach upset, began vomiting. Carlos provided her with some medicine and helped her lie down. The young nervous debutant was slumped on a seat, half asleep. Carlos was losing the ever-readiness and strength of his team. And that made him even more nervous. There was something strange, and distinctly at variance, with his earlier cool and collected behavior. He would stare menacingly at anyone who dared look him in the eye. The whole atmosphere seemed suffused with the silence of deep anxiety and fear. * * * Now dawn was breaking in the east with a pale glow I leaned back in my seat and watched the sky gradually lighting up as the sun slowly kept rising behind us. Below, once again the white houses of Algiers in the distance began to loom perceptibly larger in my tiny window. The plane landed and taxied to a stop in a remote comer. “We are going to make a decision about you in a “democratic” manner, Carlos abruptly informed Yamani and me. And without further delay he entered into a huddled conversation with the members of his gang. Little did I understand at the time as to what he meant by this remark. But the look of concern in Yamani (who seemed more aware of what was intended) was enough to warn me that something momentous was about to happen. After several agonizing minutes the group concluded its “democratic” caucus. Carlos got up, walked by us, and left the plane. Meanwhile the crew and the remaining delegations also left the plane, leaving only Yamani, myself, and the remaining members of our two delegations on hoard under siege. How Jong the harrowing siege, enforced by the pointed barrels of machine guns, lasted I do not remember. I only recall that after what seemed like hours Carlos showed up, tense and angry with the fire of hell in his eyes. He walked down the aisle followed by his accomplices There ensued what appeared to be a heated discussion among them. Time appeared to flow past heavily, as in a slow motion film. Finally came the unexpected climax. The whole gang, led by Carlos, approached us. “This time”, Carlos began addressing Yamani and me in a tense commanding tone indicative of a deep accumulation of fury inside, “I let you go free. But I warn you I will get at you again, no matter where you convene your conference. There is no escape from us.” I thought somehow that his threats smacked of desperation. Nonetheless we all stood silent and immobile while he continued with his fiery harangue for several more minutes. He threatened that his trained associates would get us in our own countries. Then, as if his allotted time was up, he suddenly left the plane, followed by his entourage. Strange as it may seem, for a while we were left in limbo. We did not know exactly what to make of this last unexpected act of his. Someone suggested we would be better off staying on board until some official from Algeria showed up. “Why?” I asked. “One never knows. Carlos could be waiting for you outside the plane. By leaving the plane you run the risk of getting shot. Later he could claim he was jumped upon, and that he acted in self defense”, our colleague explained. This didn’t make any sense, I thought. He could have shot us on board under the same pretense. As a mater of fact Sheikh Yamani later told me that when Carlos called his gang together for his “democratic” caucus he wanted to inform them of his decision to murder Yamani and me, after releasing everyone else. Another colleague argued that as a last-ditch attempt they might have planted a time bomb on board. He pointed to the abrupt departure of Carlos and his gang from the plane as evidence. In the end, we decided to leave the plane. Cautiously, and one by one, we labored descending the steep metal steps. What a heavenly sight! Warm rays of golden sunshine were beaming down from a cloudless blue sky. The crisp fresh December air luxuriously filled our lungs. No trace of Carlos or his pointed sub-machine guns. We looked about us, but so elated had we become that we saw no one in sight. Slowly and cautiously we began to walk away from the plane. In the far distance a white stucco building caught the eye. We moved toward it. After so many harrowing hours on the plane it was indeed a pleasure to walk on solid ground. We had walked about a hundred yards before we became aware of some people coming toward us. Soon the familiar face of Mr. Bouteflicka came into focus. He gave us bear hugs and introduced his colleagues, the Minister of the Interior and the Chief of the Security Organization. Together, in a state of happy reunion, we walked to the air terminal building. The main hall on the ground floor was empty, except for a few security guards and a couple of service employees. Mr. Bouteflicka offered us a seat on a couch and himself sat between Mr. Yamani and me. The Interior Minister and Security Chief sat across a table facing us. They informed us that our nightmare was not quite over yet. Carlos and his entourage were in the adjoining room. As a last-ditch effort, seemingly a face-saving one, Carlos had insisted that prior to our release our respective governments must agree to broadcast the text of the political manifesto over the national networks. “I don’t think the Iranian government would have a quarrel with that”, I said. “Inshaallah!”, exclaimed Mr. Bouteflicka, who then left us to contact Riyadh and Tehran. While he was gone refreshments were served. We were still uneasily conscious of our next-door neighbors. After a seemingly long time Mr. Bouteflicka returned beaming with a happy smile. Both governments had consented to the conditions and he had so informed Carlos. It seemed the nightmare was at long last over. All of a sudden Carlos ‘s deputy – the man who was the first to storm the conference room in Vienna – appeared, as if from nowhere, in front of us. No one quite knew what to make of his unexpected appearance. He was offered a glass of orange juice, which he refused. He began a vociferous verbal attack on Sheikh Yamani in Arabic. Meanwhile he surreptitiously tried to reach in his belt, but the Security Chief quickly jumped and grabbed his arm. But the man continued with his insults as he was being led away under our astonished gaze. A few minutes later the Security Chief returned and recounted the amazing story that the man had actually intended to shoot Yamani there and then. Incredibly his hidden small pistol had been overlooked by the security guards! Understandably we now were anxious to get out of the place as quickly as possible and be as far as possible away from Carlos and his gang. As if reading our thoughts Mr. Bouteflicka took Sheikh Yamani and me to his home in a car driven by himself. In his house we were greeted by His Highness Prince Saud el Faisal, who is now the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, and who happened to be in Algiers on a private visit. We all thanked God that the frightful nightmare was finally over. Mr. Bouteflicka recounted part of the conversation that he had had with Carlos on Monday, when the plane first landed in Algiers. “I pleaded with Carlos for the release of everyone, but to no avail. Carlos was adamantly against releasing the Saudis and the Iranians”, he continued. “I told him if he was after ransom money I would contact the two governments.” Carlos had replied that he had already been paid for this operation. Months later I came across reports in some highly regarded magazines reporting payments of several million dollars by the Saudi flight over the Mediterranean was uneventful. We stopped for refueling at Istanbul, and delayed our departure for two hours longer than necessary so that the plane would not arrive in Tehran before the scheduled 9:00 a.m. time in the morning. The first person to greet me on landing at the Mehrabad airport in Tehran was my wife. She was admirably composed and in full control, though I was aware that the agony she had gone through was no less than mine, if indeed not more. Huge crowds of well-wishers gave me a rousing welcome. Those closer to the plane honored me with sincere handshakes and bear hugs. Reporters hungrily were hoping for first-hand news, but for some reason, unknown even to myself, I declined to appease their curiosity. In fact, this account of the whole harrowing experience as re-lived by me, if it appears in print, will be for the first time. Accompanied by my wife I went straight to my parents. Their unsuccessful efforts to hold back their tears touched me deeply. Their sincere belief in God, and their strong faith in the benevolence of His mysterious ways humbled me. I then proceeded to the Imperial Palace where the Shah was expecting me. He was serene and intently listened to my account of the events; “who do you suppose master-minded the plot and for what purpose?” I replied that circumstantial evidence points to a radical group ENCOURAGED and financed by an Arab country and blessed by another Arab government. As to their purpose, I believe, they wanted to humiliate and frighten the “so-called” pro-American governments of the region, and pass along a signal about the increasing power of the radical groups throughout the world. Thus, came to its end the story of my several brushes with DEATH. I spent the day with my wife, but not the way it was planned. You cannot force destiny out of your life by planning, I thought.

December 17, 2017 by · Comments Off on A BLOODY SUNDAY Vienna, Austria Sunday December 21, 1975 the third and last part Jamshid Amouzgar The late Prime Minister of Iran from 7 August 1977 to 27 August 1978 and the Minister of Interior in 1974-1977 “I did my best for the release of everyone here”, he told Yamani and me. To our dismay he followed his statement with “But to no avail.” However, in an off-hand way he told us that he had been successful in getting Carlos’s promise that no harm would befall us. He then bade us farewell and left the plane. In the meantime, the wounded man was taken to a hospital in the city, and all of the members of five delegations – namely, those of Algeria, Niger, Gabon, Venezuela and Ecuador – were released. Valentine Hernandez was overcome with emotion at his parting. He offered to take a message to my wife. But what messages could I give, except to say that I was still alive? I thanked him and wished him well. I was indeed happy that he was free. Our stop in Algiers lasted a bit more than two hours. We were soon ready for another take-off only this time with less pay-load. Mr. Abdossalam Belaid, the then Minister of Energy and Industry of Algeria volunteered to accompany us to the next port of call which was Tripoli, Lybia. It was indeed a noble gesture on his part. * * * Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani, the then-Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, is a kind, compassionate, courageous, intelligent, thoughtful man, and a most talented and conscientious person endowed with a strong sense of duty and loyalty to friends. As a brilliant debater with a sharp mind he was the star of OPEC since its formation. He always attracted more journalists, reporters, and photographers than the rest of the OPEC ministers combined. ‘Though not related to the Saudi royal family, he always bore an aristocratic demeanor. He had a long conversation with Carlos in Vienna, during the course of which Carlos had told him that after leaving Algiers and Tripoli we would be taken to Baghdad where all the remaining hostages, except him and me, would be released. We two were to be taken to South Yemen, where we would be handed over to the authorities for whatever justice they might see fit to administer. And if for any reason, the plan failed, he was sorry he had to kill him and me although he had no personal grudge against him. Yamani had kept all this conversation to himself not to scare me. I was only told by him when we were safely seated in Mr. Bouteflicka’s car at the end of the harrowing ordeal. However, considering the fact that the Iranian armed forces had taken part in the war against the South Yemen-backed rebels in Zhofar, and that the long-standing feud between the Saudis and South Yemen had hardly abated, I reflected grimly that no crystal ball was needed to foresee the kind of justice that would be meted to us. No! The future most certainly did note bode well for us. I was beginning to suffer a bout of self-pity. Why should this happen to me? Was this the reward for so many years of honest dedicated service to my country’? Was this the meaning of justice? These and other questions kept humming in my mind. And then I thought of the countless number of honest and dedicated people, those unsung heroes, who, in the prime of life had lost their lives in the service of their country, and who had not received a fraction of the benefits I was enjoying. Suddenly I felt ashamed for having succumbed to feelings of self-pity. I recalled the mystic words of Jalaluddin Roomi, the thirteenth-century Persian philosopher/poet, the beautiful translation of which by Edward G. Brown I give below – I died from mineral and plant became; Died from the plant and took a sentient frame; Died from the beast, and donned a human dress; When by my dying did I e’er grow less? But what about the agony that my wife and family will have to go through, I thought. “When we get to Baghdad I shall ask for the release of everyone”, the words of sympathy from the Iraqi Minister of Oil interrupted my gloomy thoughts. Was the man telepathic? * * * We reached Tripoli after dusk. The long stretch of bright neon lights marked the otherwise unnoticeable shoreline. The plane landed and was led to a remote part of the airport. But no one was there to meet us, and in spite of Carlos ‘s repeated attempts to establish contact through the control tower nobody came toward us! Carlos was now visibly impatient, and began to nervously pace up and down the aisle, intermittently looking at his watch. He was beginning to lose control, which made us all ever more tense. We all tried to avoid his menacing gaze. The silence was almost palpable. Long agonizing minutes later, it was broken by the roar of a motor brigade approaching our plane. Suddenly all was excitement and relief at the sight of Mr. Jallud, the Libyan Prime Minister. He warmly embraced and shook hands with Carlos and, totally ignoring us, the two of them proceeded toward the cockpit and sat down facing each other. There was a long tete-atete, from which we could not glean anything, even though we were able to see their gesticulations and lip moments- much like watching a silent movie. In the end Mr. Jallud got up, walked past us, and casting an icy glance at me, without a word left the plane. The scene was most bizarre, rather like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Upon the departure of Mr. Jallud Carlos burst into a furious tirade. “These people are not revolutionaries”, he exclaimed. ‘’They cannot handle even a simple job. They are good only for the mosque”. According to Carlos he had been promised a four-engine jet plane on arrival at Tripoli to fly us non-stop to Baghdad. To his dismay, after what he considered a humiliating delay, he was now told that Libya did not have an available plane of the required type, and that all efforts to charter one had been unsuccessful. No wonder then that he had burst into an outrage at the complete upsetting of his plans. “Perhaps with a stop in Damascus the Caravelle could make it to Baghdad”, I volunteered, in an effort to ease the tension, without realizing the problems that that would raise for Yamani and myself. “Fly to Damascus!”, exclaimed Carlos in a loud voice. “Over my dead body!” It was then that I realized the depth of resentment and rivalry that existed between the various factions struggling for the Palestinian cause. In Tripoli Carlos released the members of four more delegations. the Libyans (understandably), the Indonesians, the Iraqis, and the Kuwaitis. Before taking off from Tripoli, however, Carlos approached Yamani and me. “One member of each of your two delegations can get off here”, he said. There were four of us in the Iranian delegation. I told my three colleagues to decide amongst themselves as to which one should be freed. At first none of them was willing to go – perhaps out of loyalty to me, or fear from the uncertainty in Libya. “Look”, I counseled. ‘’This is an opportunity for one of you to go free in the company of the other delegation members. Why hesitate?” After more consultation, the youngest member of the delegate was ready to go. From the Saudi delegation too, the choice fell on a young economist, huge and redoubtable, though with a pleasant countenance. ‘’When I first saw him in the conference room”, Carlos told of him, ‘’I said to myself he could crush me with the sheer weight of his body.” But the quiet. reflective and loyal young man would not leave without his Minister. The scene was a most touching one, and showed the depth of loyalty and faithfulness of the young man toward his superior. He was still dragging his feet. “Hurry up, the car cannot wait all night”, Carlos admonished. With tears welling in his eyes the gentle giant hugged Sheikh Yamani and in a voice shaking with emotion pleaded with Carlos, “Please do not harm my Minister”. By now we were in the small hours of morning. The plane cleared the runway and once again we were air-borne. The patience, the stamina, and the selflessness of the two crew members was beyond anyone’s expectation. They were truly admirable. As the plane reached its cruising altitude I looked out through the tiny window and saw that it was a clear night and that the bright sky was studded with a myriad shining stars. An enchanting moon was lighting the night sky. It was reminiscent of many a similar night that I had spent in my youth in the seemingly boundless deserts of the Iranian plateau on trips undertaken under the aegis of the US “Point Four Program”, in the search for ground water for the small villages scattered throughout Iran. Suddenly the Big Dipper caught my attention. Since we had not been told of our next destination I could now at least figure out, with some relief, that we were heading westward. * * * Little by little physical fatigue, as well as mental stress, was taking its toll. I was dozing off involuntarily – but not for long. It seemed we were destined not to have a moment without excitement. Another unexpected event now was to shake us awake. As the plane approached the Tunisian capital, Carlos suddenly decided to try his luck in the land of Carthage. He ordered the pilot to make a landing in Tunis. The control tower apparently refused permission for landing. Carlos, now quite upset by the set-back in Libya, was livid with rage. “Land anyway!”, he barked. The plane nosed down toward the runway. But all of a sudden, the runway lights were turned off: Concerned with the safety of the plane and its passengers and very likely not familiar enough with the site, the pilot warned that it would be too risky to try landing. The plane was now rapidly loosing altitude and everybody was nervously watching Carlos, wide-eyed and waiting. “Pull up”’, he hesitantly decided. It was now clear that exhaustion, and the strains of more than forty-five hours of sleepless tension were telling on our captors as well. The strain must have been extreme, for they had to be constantly on the alert. The female member of the group, apparently suffering from some stomach upset, began vomiting. Carlos provided her with some medicine and helped her lie down. The young nervous debutant was slumped on a seat, half asleep. Carlos was losing the ever-readiness and strength of his team. And that made him even more nervous. There was something strange, and distinctly at variance, with his earlier cool and collected behavior. He would stare menacingly at anyone who dared look him in the eye. The whole atmosphere seemed suffused with the silence of deep anxiety and fear. * * * Now dawn was breaking in the east with a pale glow I leaned back in my seat and watched the sky gradually lighting up as the sun slowly kept rising behind us. Below, once again the white houses of Algiers in the distance began to loom perceptibly larger in my tiny window. The plane landed and taxied to a stop in a remote comer. “We are going to make a decision about you in a “democratic” manner, Carlos abruptly informed Yamani and me. And without further delay he entered into a huddled conversation with the members of his gang. Little did I understand at the time as to what he meant by this remark. But the look of concern in Yamani (who seemed more aware of what was intended) was enough to warn me that something momentous was about to happen. After several agonizing minutes the group concluded its “democratic” caucus. Carlos got up, walked by us, and left the plane. Meanwhile the crew and the remaining delegations also left the plane, leaving only Yamani, myself, and the remaining members of our two delegations on hoard under siege. How Jong the harrowing siege, enforced by the pointed barrels of machine guns, lasted I do not remember. I only recall that after what seemed like hours Carlos showed up, tense and angry with the fire of hell in his eyes. He walked down the aisle followed by his accomplices There ensued what appeared to be a heated discussion among them. Time appeared to flow past heavily, as in a slow motion film. Finally came the unexpected climax. The whole gang, led by Carlos, approached us. “This time”, Carlos began addressing Yamani and me in a tense commanding tone indicative of a deep accumulation of fury inside, “I let you go free. But I warn you I will get at you again, no matter where you convene your conference. There is no escape from us.” I thought somehow that his threats smacked of desperation. Nonetheless we all stood silent and immobile while he continued with his fiery harangue for several more minutes. He threatened that his trained associates would get us in our own countries. Then, as if his allotted time was up, he suddenly left the plane, followed by his entourage. Strange as it may seem, for a while we were left in limbo. We did not know exactly what to make of this last unexpected act of his. Someone suggested we would be better off staying on board until some official from Algeria showed up. “Why?” I asked. “One never knows. Carlos could be waiting for you outside the plane. By leaving the plane you run the risk of getting shot. Later he could claim he was jumped upon, and that he acted in self defense”, our colleague explained. This didn’t make any sense, I thought. He could have shot us on board under the same pretense. As a mater of fact Sheikh Yamani later told me that when Carlos called his gang together for his “democratic” caucus he wanted to inform them of his decision to murder Yamani and me, after releasing everyone else. Another colleague argued that as a last-ditch attempt they might have planted a time bomb on board. He pointed to the abrupt departure of Carlos and his gang from the plane as evidence. In the end, we decided to leave the plane. Cautiously, and one by one, we labored descending the steep metal steps. What a heavenly sight! Warm rays of golden sunshine were beaming down from a cloudless blue sky. The crisp fresh December air luxuriously filled our lungs. No trace of Carlos or his pointed sub-machine guns. We looked about us, but so elated had we become that we saw no one in sight. Slowly and cautiously we began to walk away from the plane. In the far distance a white stucco building caught the eye. We moved toward it. After so many harrowing hours on the plane it was indeed a pleasure to walk on solid ground. We had walked about a hundred yards before we became aware of some people coming toward us. Soon the familiar face of Mr. Bouteflicka came into focus. He gave us bear hugs and introduced his colleagues, the Minister of the Interior and the Chief of the Security Organization. Together, in a state of happy reunion, we walked to the air terminal building. The main hall on the ground floor was empty, except for a few security guards and a couple of service employees. Mr. Bouteflicka offered us a seat on a couch and himself sat between Mr. Yamani and me. The Interior Minister and Security Chief sat across a table facing us. They informed us that our nightmare was not quite over yet. Carlos and his entourage were in the adjoining room. As a last-ditch effort, seemingly a face-saving one, Carlos had insisted that prior to our release our respective governments must agree to broadcast the text of the political manifesto over the national networks. “I don’t think the Iranian government would have a quarrel with that”, I said. “Inshaallah!”, exclaimed Mr. Bouteflicka, who then left us to contact Riyadh and Tehran. While he was gone refreshments were served. We were still uneasily conscious of our next-door neighbors. After a seemingly long time Mr. Bouteflicka returned beaming with a happy smile. Both governments had consented to the conditions and he had so informed Carlos. It seemed the nightmare was at long last over. All of a sudden Carlos ‘s deputy – the man who was the first to storm the conference room in Vienna – appeared, as if from nowhere, in front of us. No one quite knew what to make of his unexpected appearance. He was offered a glass of orange juice, which he refused. He began a vociferous verbal attack on Sheikh Yamani in Arabic. Meanwhile he surreptitiously tried to reach in his belt, but the Security Chief quickly jumped and grabbed his arm. But the man continued with his insults as he was being led away under our astonished gaze. A few minutes later the Security Chief returned and recounted the amazing story that the man had actually intended to shoot Yamani there and then. Incredibly his hidden small pistol had been overlooked by the security guards! Understandably we now were anxious to get out of the place as quickly as possible and be as far as possible away from Carlos and his gang. As if reading our thoughts Mr. Bouteflicka took Sheikh Yamani and me to his home in a car driven by himself. In his house we were greeted by His Highness Prince Saud el Faisal, who is now the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, and who happened to be in Algiers on a private visit. We all thanked God that the frightful nightmare was finally over. Mr. Bouteflicka recounted part of the conversation that he had had with Carlos on Monday, when the plane first landed in Algiers. “I pleaded with Carlos for the release of everyone, but to no avail. Carlos was adamantly against releasing the Saudis and the Iranians”, he continued. “I told him if he was after ransom money I would contact the two governments.” Carlos had replied that he had already been paid for this operation. Months later I came across reports in some highly regarded magazines reporting payments of several million dollars by the Saudi flight over the Mediterranean was uneventful. We stopped for refueling at Istanbul, and delayed our departure for two hours longer than necessary so that the plane would not arrive in Tehran before the scheduled 9:00 a.m. time in the morning. The first person to greet me on landing at the Mehrabad airport in Tehran was my wife. She was admirably composed and in full control, though I was aware that the agony she had gone through was no less than mine, if indeed not more. Huge crowds of well-wishers gave me a rousing welcome. Those closer to the plane honored me with sincere handshakes and bear hugs. Reporters hungrily were hoping for first-hand news, but for some reason, unknown even to myself, I declined to appease their curiosity. In fact, this account of the whole harrowing experience as re-lived by me, if it appears in print, will be for the first time. Accompanied by my wife I went straight to my parents. Their unsuccessful efforts to hold back their tears touched me deeply. Their sincere belief in God, and their strong faith in the benevolence of His mysterious ways humbled me. I then proceeded to the Imperial Palace where the Shah was expecting me. He was serene and intently listened to my account of the events; “who do you suppose master-minded the plot and for what purpose?” I replied that circumstantial evidence points to a radical group ENCOURAGED and financed by an Arab country and blessed by another Arab government. As to their purpose, I believe, they wanted to humiliate and frighten the “so-called” pro-American governments of the region, and pass along a signal about the increasing power of the radical groups throughout the world. Thus, came to its end the story of my several brushes with DEATH. I spent the day with my wife, but not the way it was planned. You cannot force destiny out of your life by planning, I thought. 

Jamshid Amouzgar – The late Prime Minister of Iran from 7 August 1977 to 27 August 1978 and the Minister of Interior in 1974-1977

Read more

​«انیس الجلیس» داستانی از هزار و یک شب

December 17, 2017 by · Comments Off on ​«انیس الجلیس» داستانی از هزار و یک شب 

برگ چهارم و پایانی – دکتر کاوه سعیدی

Read more

تعطیلی مدارس در تهران و دیگر شهرهای بزرگ و صنعتی ایران به علت آلودگی شدید هوا

December 17, 2017 by · Comments Off on تعطیلی مدارس در تهران و دیگر شهرهای بزرگ و صنعتی ایران به علت آلودگی شدید هوا 

polutionweb1451396478999_hamid amlashi -8رادیو فرانسه – مدارس ابتدایی شهر تهران و برخی دیگر از شهرهای بزرگ و صنعتی ایران، روز یکشنبه ۲۶ آذر / ۱۷ دسامبر، به دلیل آلودگی شدید هوا تعطیل شدند. تعطیلی مدارس استان تهران روز دوشنبه نیز ادامه دارد. کمیته شرایط ویژه آلودگی هوای تهران، شنبه شب با تشکیل جلسه در استانداری تهران، اعلام کرد که تمامی مهدهای کودک، پیش دبستانی و مقطع ابتدایی مدارس استان تهران بجز شهرستانهای فیروزکوه و دماوند روز یکشنبه تعطیلند. ان تصمیم به دنبال افزایش غلظت آلاینده ذرات معلق با قطر کمتر از ۲.۵ میکرون، قرارگیری وضعیت هوا در شرایط ناسالم برای گروههای حساس، پایداری و سکون نسبی هوا، وقوع وارونگی دما و همچنین انباشت آلاینده‌ها اتخاذ شده است. همچنین فعالیت معادن شن و ماسه، آسفالت و سیمان و فعالیت‌های عمرانی در روز یکشنبه ممنوع شده است.

Read more

کولبری در ایران ممنوع شد

December 17, 2017 by · Comments Off on کولبری در ایران ممنوع شد 

Kulbariwebkoolbaran-1زمانه – عبدالرضا رحمانی فضلی وزیر کشور ایران اعلام کرد به سبب دلایل اجتماعی و سیاسی کولبری در ایران به طور کامل متوقف می‌شود. وزیر کشور جمهوری اسلامی گفت که بر اساس مصوبه دولت «کولبری از امروز ممنوع می‌شود و هیچ فردی حق ندارد کولبری انجام دهد و مرزها بسته می‌شود». او این اظهارات را در جلسه‌ با هیات نمایندگان اتاق بازرگانی بیان کرد. رحمانی فضلی ضمن اعلام خبر ممنوعیت کولبری در ایران، گفت «در ازای ممنوعیت کولبری افرادی که حداقل سه سال سابقه حضور در روستا دارند کارت پیله‌وری دریافت می‌کنند و با ایجاد ۱۵ بازارچه مرزی می‌توانند کالا را در آنجا عرضه کنند».

Read more

Bottom