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The Daily Beast: ‘Iranian Assassins Are Back’

The Daily Beast: ‘Iranian Assassins Are Back’

This week, German authorities charged an Iranian diplomat for acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy to murder after planning an alleged bombing at a rally in Paris last month of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris, France.

According to prosecutors, Assadollah Assadi, a counselor at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, “commissioned a couple living in Antwerp to carry out the attack, and supplied them with 500 grams of the explosive TATP and a detonating device, at a meeting in Luxembourg in late June,” writes Arab News. 

Assadi has had his counselor role since 2014 and is also a member of the Iranian intelligence service, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Iran is claiming that the country’s enemies concocted a false flag operation on Assadi and the couple. 

However, U.S. officials believe that the Iranian government is responsible for planned attacked. 

“When you look at what Iran has done just in Europe since 1984 and continuing up to the present, all nations need to exercise vigilance to protect themselves against the Iranian threat,” said a senior U.S. official to journalists this week. “This is only the most recent example of Iran using diplomatic cover to plot terrorism.”

Apparently, Iran is ramping up its “diplomatic missions” abroad. 

“The alleged surge in activity includes assassination plots, accusations of an attempted bombing, and the reported arming of rebel groups far from Iran’s borders. Taken together they add a potentially new and worrying dimension to the tensions between Tehran and the United States over Iran’s nuclear program, refinement of missile technology, and backing for militias in the Middle East,” writes The Daily Mail. “During the 1980s and 1990s, Iranian operatives across the world engaged in assassinations targeting opposition figures in the U.S., France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany. In Argentina, Iran-backed groups were accused in the deadly bombings of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center in 1994, attacks that left 115 people dead.”

Besides Assadi’s recent arrest, Iran has been accused of several recent clandestine activities in other countries. 

In early May, Nasser Bourita, the foreign minister of Morocco, accused Iran of smuggling weapons to the Polisario Front, an armed group that has been fighting Morocco in the disputed Western Sahara for the last four decades. Morocco severed diplomatic ties with Iran,” writes The Daily Beast. “Bourita named the cultural attaché at the Iranian embassy, Amir Mousavi, previously described as an adviser to Iran’s minister of defense, as a key figure in the scheme. Bourita said he had personally handed a file containing the allegations to Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.”

Iranian diplomats appear to be targeting opposition figures and countries yet again. 

“Over the last decade, the IRGC [Revolutionary Guard] has been sending its own operatives disguised as diplomats,” said Ahmad Majidyar, a researcher of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, to The Daily Beast. “These operatives are furthering the IRGC’s objectives, and they’re beyond the control of Zarif or others.”

Iran hopes to gain more control by deploying these diplomats all over the world.

“Iran wants to create some kind of leverage against the Saudi influence. The other is international diplomacy,” said Majidyar. “Some of these North African countries have voted with Iran at the U.N. The Revolutionary Guard also see North Africa in their long-term plan. They want to expand Iran’s naval reach all the way to Latin America. Influence in some of those countries can help.”

Author’s note: Iran is only going to continue to deny these schemes, just like the country did when it said it was compliant with the nuclear deal. 

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