Cyrus Hashemi (also spelled Hashimi; c.1942 - 21 July 1986) was an Iranian arms dealer linked to the Iran-Contra affair and October Surprise conspiracy theory. Hashemi was named by Robert Dreyfuss as a CIA and Mossad agent; Hashemi sued Dreyfuss and Lyndon LaRouche, whose Executive Intelligence Review had linked Hashemi to funding of Iranian terrorism, with the case dismissed in June 1983 due to Hashemi's failure to respond to legal documents. Hashemi died in 1986 in London in mysterious circumstances; the official cause of death was "a rare and virulent form of leukemia that was diagnosed only two days before Hashemi died."
Hashemi and his brother Jamshid Hashemi were persecuted by the Shah's SAVAK during the 1963 White Revolution, and left Iran as a result. The Hashemis had connections with Ahmed Madani, who was exiled in 1970 and went on to become Defense Minister after the 1979 Revolution.
The Hashemis supported the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and Jamshid was appointed to oversee the national radio network, where he worked with Mehdi Karroubi's brother Hassan. Hashemi said he was a cousin to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an aide of the Ayatollah Khomeini who was elected Speaker of the Iranian Parliament in 1980.
Iran hostage crisis
According to a 1984 CIA memo, William Casey recruited John Shaheen and Cyrus Hashemi in 1979 "to sell off property in New York City belonging to the shah's Pahlavi Foundation. At that time, the radical Islamic government in Teheran was claiming that property as its own and the shah's family was desperate for the cash." From November 1980 to January 1981 wiretaps were placed in the New York offices of the First Gulf Bank and Trust Company, of which Hashemi was the head. The bank had handled clandestine money transfers for the Iranian government, with Admiral Ahmad Madani, then the Defense Minister, ordering $30–$35m transferred to an account there in late 1979.
A 1992 Senate investigation concluded that Hashemi was involved in a 1980 CIA attempt to funnel $500,000 to the campaign of Iranian presidential candidate Ahmad Madani, ahead of the Iranian presidential election, 1980. Charles Cogan met with Hashemi and his brother Jamshid in New York on 5 January, and in the context of the Iran hostage crisis the Hashemis "promised to put U.S. officials in touch with top officials in the Tehran government, including a family member of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini", but asked for financial support for Madani. The CIA provided $500,000 in cash on 17 January, which was rejected in favour of a wire transfer via Switzerland. Hashemi later returned $290,000 to Cogan, via the office of John Stanley Pottinger, after Cogan had determined that less than $100,000 had been spent for its intended purpose. Madani later testified to the House October Surprise Task Force that he had told off Hashemi for attempting to collaborate with the Republicans behind Carter's back; he said Hashemi had offered to bring Casey to a meeting to discuss a hostage deal.
According to the Los Angeles Times, by the mid-1980s Hashemi, although maintaining an appearance of wealth (such as commuting to his London office in a gold-trimmed Rolls-Royce) was facing bankruptcy, in part due to major gambling losses sustained in London casinos.
In mid-1985 Hashemi was partnered with Adnan Khashoggi in "World Trade Group", "a joint venture ... that was seeking to trade farm equipment, oil and military weapons with Iran." Roy Furmark was also involved.
In June 1985 Hashemi approached William Casey with a new arms-for-hostages plan. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1988 that "according to newly declassified CIA and State Department memos, Hashemi approached then-CIA Director William J. Casey with an arms-for-hostages plan of his own that was strikingly similar to the one that would soon be embraced by the White House as its secret Iran arms initiative." According to one source, Hashemi's lawyer in this proposal was John Stanley Pottinger. A June 1985 CIA memo documented a call regarding a potential arms-for-hostages deal from Hashemi to Shaheen. The Times said in 1988 it had discovered that Hashemi was meeting with Adnan Khashoggi and Manucher Ghorbanifar, and that Hashemi's efforts to arrange a deal collapsed in August 1985 due to Kashoggi's competing efforts to arrange US access to Ghorbanifar via Robert McFarlane.
Brokers of Death arms case
In 1986 Hashemi acted as a government informant in a four-month sting operation for the US Customs Service, resulting in the Brokers of Death arms case, which the Los Angeles Times described in 1988 as "the largest arms conspiracy prosecution ever brought by the Justice Department". Hashemi had agreed to act as an informant in exchange for the dropping of arms smuggling charges against him.
- Los Angeles Times, 7 March 1987, 1986 Death of Iranian Informant in Arms Plot Prosecution Studied
- Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of America's Private Intelligence Network (Carroll and Graf, 2005), 202–04.
- Edward Spannaus, 16 March 1982, The real story of Cyrus Hashemi, Executive Intelligence Review 9(10)
- "plaintiff's failures regarding discovery responsibilities have made a factual determination of the merits of the claims presented impossible... Given the culpability and bad faith exhibited by plaintiff as well as sound judicial policy, this action is hereby DISMISSED." - HASHEMI v. CAMPAIGNER PUBLICATIONS, INC.Civ. A. No. C80-1555A. 572 F.Supp. 331 (1983), United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division. 1 July 1983
- A counter-suit by EIR alleging misconduct by Hashemi's attorney was rejected in 1986. HASHEMI v. CAMPAIGNER PUBLICATIONS, INC.No. 85-8550. 784 F.2d 1581 (1986), United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. 26 March 1986
- Los Angeles Times, 13 June 1987, Panels Probing Mysterious Death of Iran Affair Figure
- Joseph and Susan Trento, Public Education Center, 1 August 2009, The United States and Iran: The Secret History Part IV: Failure and Fate: A Failed Rescue and Iranian Double Dealing
- Selwyn Raab, New York Times, 3 June 1984, U.S. ARMS-SMUGGLING INQUIRY FOCUSES ON IRANIANS
- Jim Drinkard, Associated Press, 24 November 1992, Probe of 1980 GOP Hostage Dealings Reveals Covert CIA Operation
- Los Angeles Times, 28 December 1986, The Iran Deception : REAGAN'S GREATEST CRISIS : CHAPTER 3 : Enough to Make a Middleman Smile
- William C. Rempel and Dan Fisher, Los Angeles Times, 20 December 1986, Larger Israeli Role in Arms Shipments Told : Top Aide to Peres Tried to Help Two Weapons Dealers Get $15 Million in Financing, Sources Say
- James Traub, New York, 8 February 1987, The Katzenjammer Falcon
- Los Angeles Times, 4 August 1988, Iran Arms Dealers May Use Secret CIA Links as Defense
- George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography --- by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin