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Viewing cable 09BAKU687, IRAN: NINJA BLACK BELT MASTER DETAILS USE OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BAKU687 2009-09-01 05:05 2010-12-03 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baku
Appears in these articles:
http://www.spiegel.de
VZCZCXRO5697
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKB #0687/01 2440538
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 010538Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1658
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0062
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0140
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAKU 000687

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM AJ IR
SUBJECT: IRAN: NINJA BLACK BELT MASTER DETAILS USE OF
MARTIAL ARTS CLUBS FOR REPRESSION; xxxxxxxxxxxx

REF: a) BAKU 575

Classified By: POL/ECON COUNSELOR ROB GARVERICK, REASON 1.4 (B and D)

Iranian Martial Arts Clubs Used for Political Repression
--------------------------------------------- ------------

1. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx a licensed martial arts coach and trainer
xxxxxxxxxxxx, told Baku Iran
watcher that private martial arts clubs and their managers
are under intense pressure to cooperate with Iranian
intelligence and Revolutionary Guard organizations, both in
training members and in working as "enforcers" in repression
of protests and politically motivated killings. xxxxxxxxxxxx
who provided originals of his Iranian coaching license and
technical certificate as xxxxxxxxxxxx. He claimed that his
xxxxxxxxxxxx with difficulty maintained its
independence from control by organizations affiliated with
the Revolutionary Guard and/or intelligence service.
xxxxxxxxxxxx

2. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx observed that Iranian internal security
forces are highly suspicious of these clubs as potential
vehicles for organization and "combat" training of future
protesters and regime opponents. Nonetheless, he asserted
that their main motivation is seeking to control these clubs
is less driven by such fears as by a desire to deploy their
trained membership at will for "special tasks." According to
xxxxxxxxxxxx these tasks range from providing martial arts
training to Revolutionary Guard members and Basij, assistance
in protest repression, intimidation, and crowd control, to
political killings. He observed that use of these clubs and
their members provides the security forces with "plausible
deniability" for dirty undertakings, as well as trained
fighters and potential trainers.

Alleged Contract Killings
-------------------------

3. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx said he personally knew one such martial
arts master whom he said was used by the Intelligence service
to murder at least six different individuals over the course
of several months in xxxxxxxxxxxx said that
the victims included intellectuals and young "pro-democracy
activists," adding that his assassin acquaintance was
ultimately "suicided" by the authorities (i.e., killed in
what was subsequently labeled a suicide). xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed
that his club was raided and greatly restricted xxxxxxxxxxxx
after he and the club manager refused to train Basij or lend
them their facilities. He said that they also refused to
mobilize their membership to assist in repressing local
protesters xxxxxxxxxxxx. Although he has
stopped working at the school, he claimed to be under
relentless pressure to cooperate, xxxxxxxxxxxx

4. (C)xxxxxxxxxxxx (Note and Comment: A xxxxxxxxxxxx
student recently echoed some of xxxxxxxxxxxx story, noting that
xxxxxxxxxxxx could only be held at night as during
the daytime his instructors are "required to train the
Revolutionary Guard." The use of martial arts clubs members
as political enforcers/repressors existed under the Shah,
and, according to sources, exists today in several
neighboring countries, including the Republic of Azerbaijan.
End Note and Comment).

xxxxxxxxxxxx "Pragmatic" on Post-Election Protests
--------------------------------------------- -

5. (C) On the topic of xxxxxxxxxxxx post-election protest
activities, xxxxxxxxxxxx said that almost everyone he knew voted
for Moussavi, and was angered by the fabricated result.

Baku 00000687 002 of 002


However, he claimed that there was considerable reluctance to
turn to the streets once serious repression began. He said
that xxxxxxxxxxxx are "very pragmatic"; while not afraid
of protesting per se, they will only do so in favor of a
tangible end result that they feel is clearly in their
interest. He asserted that xxxxxxxxxxxx saw the election
and subsequent fallout as a power struggle within the Tehran
regime which had little to do with them or their felt
interests. "People see it as an issue for Tehranis," he said,
and are "reluctant to risk their necks" unless/until they
feel that real regional policy changes are achievable.

6. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx


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