The Accidental Hero
World Affairs / Roya Hakakian

Dozens of Iranian exiles had already been assassinated—in Washington, DC, Rome, London, Paris, Geneva, and Vienna. Though the trail of the killers always led to the doorstep of the Iranian embassies around the world, no other prosecutor had ever dared, or possessed enough evidence to, name Tehran as the mastermind behind those operations. In November 1996, after a four-year investigation, Bruno Jost presented his final statement to Berlin’s High Court, the Kammergericht, to become the first prosecutor to go beyond the incidental underlings in his custody and name their chief commander, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Tehran was not alone in its rage over the fearless prosecutor, against whom many fatwas were issued by a medley of mullahs throughout the country. Bonn was also seething at the uncompromising lawyer to whom several senior officials referred as the “fucking prosecutor who is wrecking everything with Iran over a few dead bodies!”

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