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Terror trial witness is a ‘swindler’

Published on 27/01/2004

27 January 2004

TEHERAN – Iran described as a “swindler” Tuesday an Iranian witness who is to testify at the end of this week to a terrorism trial in Hamburg, Germany.

The man was not an ex-agent of the Iranian intelligence service but a “swindler who makes up these stories to be paid money”, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters in Teheran. The minister said the German prosecutor was quite aware of this.

The alleged Iranian agent, whose pseudonym is Hamid-Reza Zakeri, has told German police that Iran ordered the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda on New York and Washington.

The Iranian embassy in Berlin dismissed his claims Saturday as “contradictory and false evidence by an unknown person”.

Police testified last week at the Hamburg trial of alleged plotter Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi that Zakeri told German investigators that Mzoudi had spent three months in Iran.

The new evidence has delayed the end of the trial of Mzoudi who is accused of assisting in more than 3,000 murders and of being a member of a terrorist organization.

Prosecutors have said they would need up to two weeks to check the veracity of the witness, who is to appear in court on Friday to answer questions.

German news reports say Zakeri has made similar claims in the past, but was not believed by western intelligence services. The news reports said some of his statements were true, suggesting he had been an agent, but large areas of his claims appeared to be fantasy.

Subject: German news