Princeton scholar under fire for boasting about Iran threat against US over Soleimani
A US-based former Iranian diplomat has come under fire after he appeared to be gloating on Iranian state TV that threats made by the Iranian regime following the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani supposedly frightened the family of a former US official.
Iran’s state media marked the second anniversary of Soleimani’s death with a new documentary earlier this month that glorified the late Revolutionary Guards commander.
Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force – the overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards – was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq on January 3, 2020. He was considered the most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University who served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997, took part in the documentary.
Mousavian came under fire after he appeared to boast during the documentary that Iranian threats to target US officials as part of the revenge for Soleimani had purportedly caused the wife of Brain Hook, the US Special Envoy for Iran at the time, to panic.
Mousavian, who travelled back to Iran in January 2020 to attend Soleimani’s funeral, claimed: “After returning to the US, an American told me that Brian Hook’s wife had not slept for several days and that she was shaking and crying. That’s how afraid they were.”
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons, issued a statement on Friday condemning Mousavian.
“Princeton scholar Hossein Mousavian … recently sounded gleeful over the fact that American citizens and their families were concerned by death threats received from supporters of the Iranian regime in a documentary … UANI strongly condemns Mousavian and calls upon Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber to dismiss him from any association or affiliation with Princeton without delay,” the statement said.
“Ambassador Mousavian’s affiliation with Princeton is a stain on the university’s reputation and credibility,” UANI said, noting the assassinations of several Iranian dissidents in Germany in the 1990s while Mousavian served as ambassador to Berlin.
Mousavian is accused of being involved in the assassination of four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in September 1992 in Berlin.
Mousavian was removed as ambassador at the request of the German government after Berlin’s highest court concluded in April 1997 that the 1992 assassinations were ordered by a committee headed by Supreme Leader Khamenei.
“Laughing at death threats and even bragging about them is not behaviour people at academic institutions should display,” Vahid Yucesoy, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Montreal, wrote on Twitter. a
Kenneth Weinstein, Walter P. Stern distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, slammed Princeton for “providing a home for an enemy of America who boasts about intimidating the family of an American public servant.”