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Ambassador Caught Shoplifting, Police Say

May 22, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Shoplifting allegations against Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations are an FBI attempt to create a scandal or a misunderstanding by store security personnel who said he took a raincoat, an Iranian official says.

Said Rajaie-Khorassani, 50, was released on diplomatic immunity two hours after store officials saw him try on the coat, rip off the price tag and start for the exit on May 7, said police spokesman Sgt. John Venetucci.

Alexander’s store detective spotted Rajaie-Khorassani trying to take the $99.99 coat and with another guard stopped him, Venetucci said. The ambassador was questioned by the night security manager, who called the FBI after his identification papers showed him to be with the United Nations.

The FBI recognized Rajaie-Khorassani as the Iranian ambassador and he was released, he said, adding that city police were not informed of the incident until Wednesday. No charges were filed because of his diplomatic status.

Amir Zamani, a member of the Iranian U.N. mission staff, said Wednesday that the incident was the result either of a misunderstanding or an FBI attempt to create a scandal. He said Rajaie-Khorassani would hold a news conference today on the matter.

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