[The following is excerpted from an article by Marcello Mega headlined Bereaved father: Rouhani tweet is Lockerbie admission in today's edition of The Sunday Times:]
More than 31 years after his daughter was murdered in the Lockerbie bombing, Dr Jim Swire has condemned Police Scotland and the Crown Office for refusing to investigate a “confession” tweeted by Iran’s president.
Hassan Rouhani used his Twitter account last week to warn the West: “Never threaten the Iranian nation.”
He also referred to the 290 people killed on an Iran Air flight on July 3, 1988, less than six months before the Lockerbie bombing, when IR655 was shot down over the Gulf by a US warship, USS Vincennes.
At the time, Iran warned that the skies would run with the blood of Americans.
Investigators were building a case against Iran for most of the first year of the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, which claimed the lives of 270 people. But changes in the region’s geopolitical relations with the West coincided with a shift in focus to Libya, and the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan agent, remains the only person convicted of the bombing.
Swire and some other relatives of the Lockerbie victims have never accepted Libya’s guilt, and Megrahi’s own family currently has a Scottish lawyer pursuing a posthumous appeal through the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.
After the US air strike that killed Iranian military commander General Qasem Soleimani earlier this month, Donald Trump stoked tensions by referring to 52 further potential targets in Iran. Rouhani responded: “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290.”
Swire said last night: “It’s been 31 years. There has been claim and counterclaim, but never before has anyone come this close to confessing responsibility.
“Of course, those who want to maintain the farce that Libya was responsible will suggest other explanations, but there are none.
“The president of Iran is saying that they avenged the deaths of the 290 killed on IR655. There is no other incident, no act of aggression by Iran, that could explain that claim, only Lockerbie.”
Police Scotland and the Crown Office maintained that all ongoing investigations were still directed at Libya, provoking Swire’s anger.
Swire said: “I am now 83 and my chances of seeing justice done for Flora and the 269 others who died diminish with every year that passes.
“I used to believe in Scottish justice. I promised Megrahi and Libya that he would have a fair trial under Scots law and I regret that very much because he was convicted on no basis in fact.
“It was a show trial, and they are now continuing the farce by concentrating on Libya when all the evidence points to Iran, including the words of its own president.”
He was also highly critical of the outcome of Operation Sandwood in which a high-level team of Police Scotland investigators spent years probing allegations made by pressure group Justice for Megrahi that prosecutors, police officers and crown experts had committed criminal acts during Megrahi’s trial.
To ensure independence from the crown, police took direction from an independent advocate — who has never been identified — and concluded in 2018 that there had been no criminality.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “This is a live inquiry and Scottish prosecutors have a number of strands of investigation which are producing intelligence and information supportive of the original trial court’s finding.” (...)
Rouhani did not reply to a tweet asking whether his tweet was a confession to the Lockerbie bombing. Nor did the Iranian embassy in London respond.
[RB: An editorial in today's edition of The Sun contains the following:]
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the 270 people who perished, believes Iran has come close to confessing to the bombing in a cryptic tweet.