Iran's Ayatollah Ruhalah Khomeini in 1979 (epa file photo)
A BOMB FOR QOM?
Russia has had direct experience in dealing with Hizballah. In 1985, extremist groups in Lebanon linked to Hizballah kidnapped four Soviet diplomats, one of which was later killed.
International media at the time reported that the kidnappers received parcels with the decapitated heads of their close relations in order to secure the diplomats' release. However, speaking to TV-Tsentr on July 8, KGB Colonel Yury Perfiliev, who at the time headed the KGB's Beirut station, said the media reports were just a KGB bluff aimed at pressuring the kidnappers.
But according to Perfiliev, he met with the then-leader of Hizballah, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadallah, and told him that the Soviet Union could not tolerate such a humiliation. He said that if the kidnappers were not released then the Soviet Union could accidentally fire a nuclear missile in the direction of the Iranian city of Qom, where Ayatollah Khomeini and other top Muslim clerics lived. The three remaining prisoners were subsequently released.