Julian Assange
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaking to reporters in Geneva in November. Photo by Rueters
Text size

On November 4, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, arrived in Geneva. He held a press conference in which he hinted that he was considering requesting political asylum in Switzerland. Assange spent two days there as the guest of an Iranian non-governmental organization, which also sponsored the press conference.

The NGO is called the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights, but the impressive title conceals the Iranian government, which finances the organization. Assange's press conference took place in a building of one of the UN institutions in the city. Iranian diplomats were in the audience, and Iranian photo crews made sure to document who was there, until one of the UN security people told them to stop. It's unclear what Assange, the founder of a website that discloses secrets, and Iran, have to do with each other. WikiLeaks did not respond when asked to comment.

After WikiLeaks began disclosing the U.S. State Department's confidential cables, a rumor mill thrived on websites, mainly Arab ones, that Assange had met in Geneva with Mossad officials and reached an agreement not to disclose documents that could harm Israel. This conspiratorial theory was also based on the fact that some of the published documents embarrassed Arab leaders who were depicted as secret supporters of a military attack by the United States or Israel on Iran.

Assange denied the claim, and the Mossad in principle does not comment on reports about the organization. It seems the truth is very prosaic. The Mossad, as far as I know, was not really interested in Assange and his site. It has more important things to deal with. It's likely, however, that Iran is interested in Assange. His releases are damaging the United States, and that makes Iran happy.