YEREVAN (Armenpress) — Prominent intelligence officer, veteran of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Gohar Vartanian, who made a big contribution in acquisition of the needed information for the country’s national interests and safety, celebrates her 90th birthday jubilee on January 25.
Gohar Vartanian was born on January 25, 1926 in Leninakan (Gyumri) city. In the early 1930s, her family moved to Iran. At age 16, she entered her future husband and comrade-in-arms Gevork Vartanian’s anti-fascist group and lead an active intelligence work with him.
In 1943 she participated in the operation for assuring security during the conference of the leaders of the “Big Three” Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. Hitler’s special services had planned to assassinate the leaders of “Big Three” Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt during their meeting in Tehran.
After careful planning and deliberation under the personal supervision of Nazi Security Police Chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Hitler sent his special commando agent, Otto Skorzeny, along with six other men to rendezvous at Tehran and spearhead the operation. The plan entailed the capture and/or assassination of Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt.
Gevork Vartanian had been assigned to recruit agents since 1940 in Iran. In 1940-41 Vartanian’s team of seven intelligence officers had identified more than 400 Nazi agents, all of whom had been arrested by Soviet troops. In the autumn of 1943, they were assigned the task of ensuring the security for the upcoming Tehran conference. In their efforts to foil the assassination plot devised by the Nazis, Vartanian’s group located six Nazi radio operators shortly before the conference opened on November 28, 1943. The German assassins had been dropped by parachute near the town of Qom, 40 miles from Tehran.
Vartanian later told the following details, “We followed them to Tehran, where the Nazi field station had readied a villa for their stay. They were travelling by camel, and were loaded with weapons. While we were watching the group, we established that they had contacted Berlin by radio, and recorded their communication… When we decrypted these radio messages, we learned that the Germans were preparing to land a second group of subversives for a terrorist act — the assassination or abduction of the ‘Big Three’. The second group was supposed to be led by Skorzeny himself”. All the members of the first group were arrested and forced to contact their handlers under Soviet supervision. The operation got off track and the main group led by Skorzeny never went to Tehran. This way the success of Vartanian’s group in locating the Nazi advance party prevented the Nazi attempt to assassinate the ‘Big Three’.
In 2003, relying on declassified documents, Yuri Lvovich Kuznets published a book called Tehran-43 or Operation Long Jump, which detailed Vartanian’s role at the Tehran Conference. A Soviet film, Tegeran-43, which featured the French actor Alain Delon, was released in 1981.
In 1951, Vartanian couple returned to the USSR and in 1956 graduated from the Yerevan Institute of Foreign Languages. Then Gohar and Gevork Vartanians, under “Anita” and “Henry” pseudonyms, worked in private conditions in many countries. The spies returned to their homeland in 1986.