Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

Assassins of the Turquoise Palace cover

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On the evening of September 17, 1992, eight leading members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition had gathered at a little-known restaurant in Berlin when two darkly-clad men burst through the entrance. Within moments, the roar of a machine gun filled the air. Two rounds of fire and four single shots later, four of the men were dead. One of the survivors of that shooting, along with the widow of one of the victims and a handful of reporters, attorneys, and fellow exiles, began a crusade that would not only pit them against Tehran but against some of the greatest powers in Germany. When an undeterred federal prosecutor, and an endlessly patient chief judge, took over the case, a historic verdict followed which shook both Europe and Iran, and achieved something few could have predicted—justice. Roya Hakakian’s The Assassins of the Turquoise Palace is an incredible book of history and reportage, and an unforgettable narrative of heroism and justice.

 

 

What critics say:

“[A] riveting account of a multiple murder and trial that led to a paradigm shift in Europe’s relations with post-revolutionary Iran…. Hakakian… deploys all of her talents as a former producer at 60 Minutes and a poet in her native Persian to tell the human and political story behind the news… A nonfiction political thriller of the highest order.”

Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)


“This is a brilliant, riveting book, with all the elements of a great thriller—a horrific crime, sociopathic villains, international intrigue, personal betrayals, a noble prosecutor and an honorable judge. And it is all too real: with remarkably comprehensive reporting and brisk, smart writing, Roya Hakakian has told a great story but, more important, she has made plain the lethal immorality at the heart of Iran’s regime”

Joe Klein, Time Magazine


“As the world contemplates the pressing predicament of Iran, Roya Hakakian offers one possible solution through a riveting tale that is most timely and profoundly urgent. This superb true story is much more than an international In Cold Blood— it is a stunning parable of the central struggle of our times between totalitarianism and the rule of law.”

R. James Woolsey, Director of the CIA 1992-1994


“Roya Hakakian is something rare: a poet turned investigative reporter. The outcome of this unusual fusion is a work of journalistic revelation, written so fluidly and gorgeously, it is a masterpiece.”

Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes


New York Times: “. .  . Carefully researched and vividly written  . . . In addition to being a lively account of an extraordinary trial, Roya Hakakian’s book can be read as an unsettling reminder of the dangers of excessive zeal.” Read more

Editors’ Choice: The New York Times Sunday Book Review


Slate: “Hitchens on Assassinations of The Turquoise Palace and recent allegations against Iran”
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Slate: We have been here before, as a splendid recent book reminds us, and have learned that no allegation against the goon squads in Tehran can be thought of as prima-facie implausible.
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Excerpt detailing the initial Mykonos assassinations and trial