Iran's Deadly Diplomats

(Combating Terrorism Center at West Point) Matthew Levitt - For decades, Tehran has been dispatching operatives to Europe to carry out assassinations and other acts of terrorism. Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, accredited to Tehran's embassy in Vienna, was arrested in Germany in July for a bomb plot targeting a rally of Iranian dissidents near Paris. Assadi was an Iranian intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover. A senior State Department official said on July 10: "The United States is urging all nations to carefully examine diplomats in Iranian embassies to ensure their countries' own security. If Iran can plot bomb attacks in Paris, they can plot attacks anywhere in the world, and we urge all nations to be vigilant about Iran using embassies as diplomatic cover to plot terrorist attacks." In June 2018, an investigation by Dutch intelligence led to the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats based at the Iranian embassy in Amsterdam. This followed the assassination several months earlier of an Iranian Arab activist who was gunned down in the Dutch capital. In March 2018, Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian operatives on terrorism charges. In January 2018, after weeks of surveillance, German authorities raided several homes tied to Iranian operatives who reportedly were collecting information on possible Israeli and Jewish targets in Germany. The State Department has released timelines and maps depicting incidents of Iranian-sponsored operational activities in Europe from 1979 to 2018, including incidents involving Iran's proxy, Hizbullah, as well as those carried out by Iranian agents themselves. European authorities are likely to determine that these are not rogue actions, but the actions of a rogue regime. The writer is director of the program on counterterrorism and intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2018-08-10 00:00:00

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