A Washington rug store owned by an Iranian-American was firebombed early yesterday, apparently in retribution for the man's outspoken support for the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
An anonymous call made to CBS News shortly after the 2:31 a.m. bombing attributed the act to the Imperial Iranian Patriotic Organization. The caller blamed the store's owner, Bahram Nahidian, for the assassination last summer of anti-Khomeini activist Ali Akhbar Tabatabai, a CBS spokesman said.
About $1,000 in damage was caused by the bomb, which shattered and scorched a large front window of the store, called the Market Place, located at 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW. However, no merchandise was damaged, a spokesman for Nahidian said. No one was in the store at the time an no one was injured.
D.C. police said they had no suspects and that they had never heard of the organization that claimed credit for the attack.
According to police, a device resembling a molotov cocktail gasoline bomb was ignited and thrown against the window. The blaze was quickly controlled.
Nahidian could not be reached for comment. He has said that he is a target of a federal grand jury investigation into the assassination of Tabatabai, who founded the Iran Freedom Foundation in an effort to unite Iranian expatriates opposed to Khomeini.
Tabatabai was gunned down in the doorway of his Bethesda home last July 22 by a man posing as a letter carrier. The man charged with Tabatabai's murder, Daoud Salahuddin, an American Muslim radical, has reportedly fled the country and now is believed to be living in Iran. Two others have been arrested in connection with the killing and a third is being sought by the FBI.
Salahuddin was known to be an associate of Nahidian's, police say, but Nahidian has denied any involvement in the assassination.
Iranians on all sides of the political spectrum said yesterday they had never heard of the Imperial Iranian Patriotic Organization.