Ali Akbar Tabatabaei

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Ali Akbar Tabatabaei
Born 4 September 1930
Hamedan, Iran
Died 22 July 1980 (aged 49)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States
Nationality Iranian
Alma mater Howard University (Architecture)
Occupation Diplomat and Architect
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Lynne Gilham

Ali Akbar Tabatabaei About this sound pronunciation  (4 September 1930 – 22 July 1980) was an Iranian exile and former press attache to the Iranian embassy in the United States who became president of the Iran Freedom Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland after the Iranian Revolution.[citation needed] He was killed at his front door by a Muslim convert associated with an Iranian militant group in the last successful Iranian assassination plot on US soil.[1]

Early life[edit]

Tabatabei was born in Hamedan on 4 September 1930.[citation needed]


Tabatabaei served as press attaché in Iran's embassy in the United States during the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[2]


A critic of Ruhollah Khomeini, Tabatabaei was shot in his Bethesda, Maryland home by Dawud Salahuddin, an American Muslim convert on 22 July 1980.[3] Salahuddin disguised himself as a postman with a borrowed mail truck.[4]

Salahuddin stated he was paid $5000 by Iranians to kill Tabatabaei. He is currently on the FBI fugitives list. He escaped to Iran via Paris and Geneva, reaching Tehran on 31 July 1980.[3] In a 1996 interview with ABC's 20/20, Salahuddin also confessed to killing Tabatabaei.[5] He further stated that he thought the killing was "an act of war".[3] In 2009, it was discovered that Salahuddin had been using a new name, Hassan Abdulrahman, and that he had been running the website of Press TV.[4]


  1. ^ Oct 2011 The last alleged Iranian assassination plot on U.S. soil was a success
  2. ^ Sahimi, Mohammad (5 January 2011). "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and Intellectuals, 1988-1998". PBS. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Ira Silverman (29 July 2002). "An American Terrorist". The New Yorker. 
  4. ^ a b Mackey, Robert (16 September 2009). "Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Gibbons, Fiachra (10 January 2002). "Actor or assassin?". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2007.