Iranian extremist cleric Hassan Kurdmihan, the confessed mastermind of the January 2016 attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, is heard in a leaked tape recording telling his followers that the attack was “carried out upon a green light from the government and the regime,” according to a December 18 report in al-Arabiya. Kurdmihan can also be heard in the leaked calls directing members of the Iranian Basij and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to burn and destroy the Embassy and seize documents inside. The leaked recordings have been attributed to the Iranian opposition Green Movement.
Previously, Kurdmihan confessed to being behind the attacks and claimed that the Rouhani government had “colluded” with him in facilitating the attack. Kurdmihan wrote an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani in August in which he declared that “the government’s collusion in the attack was clear as it would have been able to prevent the attackers if it had wanted to,” al-Arabiya reported. Although Kurdmihan was interrogated following the attack, he was neither detained nor arrested by the Iranian authorities.
Kurdmihan is a member of the Ansar Hezbollah militia, an ultra-right and thuggish group that is believed to have a membership in the low hundreds. It is known for street violence against any political force that opposes the regime's policies. In addition to the attack on the Saudi Embassy in January 2016, Kurdmihan has been implicated in suppressing the Green Movement in 2009-2011 and student protests in 1998. Kurdmihan also fought beside the IRGC in Syria.