Iran promises Thailand it won’t attack Israeli tourists

Israeli and Iranian flags.

Iran promised Thailand that it won’t attack Israeli tourists on Thai soil. The Thai government informed Israel’s government yesterday that it had received a commitment from Iran not to attack Israeli targets in Thailand, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry cable and two Israeli officials.

Iran, and Iran-backed forces, are believed to have been behind attacks on Israelis and Jews across the globe. Meanwhile, Thailand is a hub for Israeli tourists.

Iranian nationals committed attacks in Thailand as part of an assassination plot against Israeli diplomats in February 2012, according to Thai authorities. An Iranian man hurled a grenade at a rented house in Bangkok. Five people were injured in the attack.

The man, along with two other Iranian men, fled after the blast. One of the men then threw another bomb at a taxi driver who refused to give him a ride. He then tried to throw yet another bomb at police when they closed in on him. The last bomb ended up exploding near the man, blowing off one of his legs.

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The bombings came a day after attacks against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia, which Israel also blamed on Iran. Iran denied involvement in any of the attacks and accused Israel of attempting to harm the “friendly and historic” relations between it and Thailand.

In June this year, Royal Thai Police issued a secret order to police across the country to keep an eye out for Iranian spies, after one was arrested in Indonesia. A police source said that security was closely monitoring the movement of Iranian nationals, and some Thai Muslims were suspected to be working as spies in Thailand.

Israel’s Mossad said that a secret Hezbollah unit was behind two deadly terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina in the 1990s. Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist militant group funded by Iran. The attacks were carried out in Buenos Aires.

The first attack blew up the Israeli Embassy in 1992, killing 29 people. The second attack targeted a Jewish community centre in 1994, killing 86 people. It was one of the world’s deadliest antisemitic crimes since World War II.

Mossad’s investigation said that Hezbollah carried out the bombings in revenge for Israeli operations against it in Lebanon.

It said that Hezbollah had used secret infrastructure constructed over years in Buenos Aires and other South American locations to plan attacks. According to the investigation, Hezbollah sent operatives to South American countries starting in 1988. This was so the operatives could get experience opening businesses and moving to new countries.

The operatives then gathered intelligence about border security, setting up cover companies, and possible targets, including the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

In February 1992, Israel assassinated Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Abbas Musawi. The brutal attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was committed in March, a month later.

Mossad said in July this year, however, that Iran did not play an “on the ground” role in the attacks, as originally believed. Mossad said that it still believes that Iran approved and funded the attacks with training and equipment.

Iran has a history of violent persecution against Jews, and other ethnic and religious minority groups.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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