Continued Threat of Iranian Retaliation Against Homeland Over Soleimani Killing, FBI Warns

What to Know:

While speaking to the House Committee on Homeland Security, the assistant director for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, Robert Wells, warned that “Iran continues to plot attacks against former government officials in retaliation for the death of IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani,” adding that Iran has the capability to conduct cyber attacks and targeted assassinations inside the United States.

Iran Still Seeks its Revenge:

While speaking to the committee, Wells noted that Iran continues to plot attacks against former American officials in retaliation for the 2020 killing of IRGC General Qassam Soleimani during a drone strike at the Baghdad Airport.

Wells referenced a case involving IRGC operative Shahram Poursafi, who attempted to pay individuals in the United States $300,000 to assassinate former National Security Advisor John Bolton in revenge for Soleimani’s death. Poursafi remains at large, likely in Iran.

The statement comes two weeks after the FBI announced that it is seeking information on Iranian intelligence officer Majid Dastjani Farahani, who has also been accused of being involved in the “recruitment of individuals for various operations in the United States, to include lethal targeting of current and former United States Government officials as revenge for the killing of IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani.”

In 2022, both the National Counterterrorism Center and Director of National Intelligence warned of continued threats and plots against former officials. 

The National Counterterrorism Center reported that “The Iranian regime is waging a multipronged campaign — including threats of lethal action, international legal maneuvering, and the issuance of Iranian arrest warrants and sanctions — against select US officials to avenge the death of IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani in January 2020, raising the threat at home and abroad for those Iran views as responsible for the killing.”

“Since January 2021, Tehran has publicly expressed a willingness to conduct lethal operations inside the United States and has consistently identified former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and former CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie as among its priority targets for retribution.”

“Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions,” the report added.

Back in January 2022, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed “revenge” if former President Donald Trump was not criminally tried in court over the assassination of Soleimani.

While speaking during during commemorations on the two year anniversary of Soelimani’s death, Raisi stated “If Trump and [former Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are not tried in a fair court for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge,” adding “The aggressor, murderer and main culprit – the then president of the United States – must be tried and judged under the law of retribution, and God’s ruling must be carried out against him.”

This was followed by the release of an animated video threatening to drone strike Trump at Mar-A-Lago, stating “revenge is definite.”

Cyber Attacks and Targeted Assassinations:

Wells also warned that “the FBI believes Iran is capable of a variety of attack options against U.S. targets, to include cyber operations intended to sabotage public and private infrastructure, and targeted assassinations of individuals who are deemed to be a threat to the regime or its stability.”

“In 2023, three members of an Eastern European criminal organization were charged for plotting the murder of a U.S. citizen, who has been targeted by the Government of Iran for speaking out against the regime’s human rights abuses,” Wells said, adding that “The victim was targeted for exercising the rights to which every American citizen is entitled. An attempted assassination on U.S. soil shows how far Iranian actors are willing to go to silence their critics.”

In July 2021, the United States accused Iranian intelligence services of orchestrating a plot to kidnap Iranian opposition journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad and bring her back to Iran due to her vocal criticisms of the Iranian government. US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said that “As alleged, four of the defendants monitored and planned to kidnap a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin who has been critical of the regime’s autocracy, and to forcibly take their intended victim to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best.  Among this country’s most cherished freedoms is the right to speak one’s mind without fear of government reprisal.  A U.S. citizen living in the United States must be able to advocate for human rights without being targeted by foreign intelligence operatives.”

A year later, three suspects were arrested and charged (as referenced by Wells above) in Iranian murder-for-hire plot against Alinejad. 

Speaking on the case, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said “This is the second time in the past two years that this office and our partners at the FBI have disrupted plots originating from within Iran to kidnap or kill this victim for the ‘crime’ of exercising the right to free speech, to independent political thought, and to advocating for the rights of the oppressed and disenfranchised inside Iran. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the career prosecutors and FBI agents who led the investigation, this new plot to silence the victim has been disrupted and the defendants will face justice in an American court.”

Atlas
Atlashttp://theatlasnews.co
Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.

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