We reported last week on the sentencing of 26-year-old Majid Jamali Fashi to death after he was convicted of the assassination of physicist Masoud Alimohammadi in January 2010.
The case always had intriguing elements, given Alimohammadi's supposed connections with Iran's nuclear programme; however, in January 2011, EA uncovered an entirely new dimension.
Jamali Fashi, a professional kickboxer, supported the regime by beating up protesters after the 2009 Presidential elections --- so how could he have be an enemy of the regime by working for Israel to murder an Iranian scientist and hinder Tehran's nuclear research?
This week Iranian authorities, supporting their claim of an Israeli plot --- including the assassination of Iranian scientists --- to undermine the regime, put Majid Jamali Fashi on national television. Fashi dutifully confessed to worked for Israeli's intelligence service Mossad, receiving training overseas before returning to Iran to carry out nefarious plots.
But that is only the beginning of the story.
What Iranian TV, and indeed the Minister of Intelligence detailing the conspiracy, failed to mention is that Fashi already had an established vocation before he supposedly colluded with the enemy.
He was a prominent kickboxer.
In his confession, Jamali Fashi says he went to Israel via Azerbaijan. Well, in August 2009, he was indeed in the Central Asian country, winning a medal in a competition in Baku.
And if he was preparing under the cover of sports for another career, he was doing so quite effectively. Acquaintances say Jamali Fashi, a die-hard Ahamdinejad supporter, practiced his moves by beating up peaceful demonstrators during the Green Movement's protests.
So how did a promising kickboxer, and a supporter of the President, wind up before the cameras --- and possibly on the gallows --- as an Israeli agent?
An EA correspondent, discussing this with me, pondered:
One theory goes back to October-November 2009 when it emerged that these kickboxers were deployed in the streets of Tehran to counter the Green protestors. The idea is that Jamali is being "silenced" by the (rogue?) security forces who enlisted him.
But that is as far as he got. When I asked, "Why would he be an embarrassment? Was he going to speak?", the correspondent replied, "Well, we don't really know that."
End of the story so far, I thought. But then I remembered this feature from EA last December, "WikiLeaks and Iran 2009: The Regime's Ninja Assassins?".
in the category of "Strange...But True?" from the WikiLeaks documents....
In September 2009, an Iranian political source --- who also happens to be trained in martial arts --- tells the US Embassy in Azerbaijan that the regime is pressuring martial arts clubs, despite suspicions that they could be assisting opposition groups, to provide instruction for the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.
The outcome supposedly went beyond training: the source maintains that one of his acquaintances killed at least six intellectuals and young "pro-democracy activists" before he himself was eliminated.
Guess where the US Embassy that posted the report was located?
Baku in Azerbaijan.
So was Jamali Fashi the source? Was he named by the source? Or is just the case that anyone who was enlisted in the martial arts effort needs to be silenced to protect an assassination operation which was not Israeli but Iranian?