WASHINGTON - Iran
is accusing the United States of being behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting
made her a symbol of opposition
to the disputed June 12 presidential election results.
Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri made this accusation on Saturday night in an interview to the CNN television network. He denied that the young woman was killed by Iranian security forces and suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible.
Ghadiri said that the bullet found in Neda's head was not of a type used in Iran. "These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said. "Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries."
The Iranian ambassador said there were many elements in the investigation into the young woman's death which pointed to suspicions of American involvement.
"This death of Neda is very suspicious," Ghadiri said. "She was shot from behind. The location was where there was not much demonstration, there was no police presence and the gun that shot and killed her was a smuggled gun. It was not a government-issued gun… In our view, this would be the work of those who wanted to put more fuel to the flame against the government.
"My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held… Well, if the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy," Ghadiri said.
Neda in pictures – and after being shot (L) (Photo: AFP)
The American intelligence service rushed to reject the Iranian accusations. "Any suggestion that the CIA was responsible for the death of this young woman is wrong, absurd and offensive," said CIA spokesman George Little said.
Neda's death, which was documented on video, sparked a row across the world, with global media telling the story of the good-looking young woman who went out to protest and never returned.
Her friends said that the Iranian security forces had ordered Neda's relatives and acquaintances not to hold a memorial service for her at a mosque and not to talk about her in public. The friends also claimed that Neda was shot by a security officer in plain clothes.
Earlier this week, Iranian security sources said that an unknown person had shot Neda and several other passersby, and not a member of the security forces.