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Matthew Levitt @Levitt_Matt
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Thread on Iranian diplomats playing hands-on roles in acts of terrorism & assassination plots across Europe, from my new @CTCWP Sentinel piece on "Iran's Deadly Diplomats" @WashInstitute 👇
2. According to German prosecutors, Assadollha Assadi was no run-of-the-mill diplomat but an Iranian intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover.
3. In a statement, prosecutors tied Assadi to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), whose tasks “primarily include the intensive observation and combatting of opposition groups inside and outside Iran
4. @StateDept urged countries 2b careful re Iranian diplomats: "If Iran can plot bomb attacks in Paris, they can plot attacks anywhere in the world, & we urge all nations 2b vigilant re Iran using embassies as diplomatic cover to plot terrorist attacks"
5. for ex, In June 2018 Dutch intel led to the expulsion of 2 Iranian diplomats based at the Iranian embassy in Amsterdam from the Netherlands. This followed the assassination several months earlier of an Iranian Arab activist who was gunned down in the Dutch capital
6. In March 2018, Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian operatives on terrorism charges after being caught allegedly surveilling a location where Iranian New Year (Nowruz) celebrations were about to begin.
7. In Jan 2018, after weeks of surveillance, German authorities raided several homes tied 2 Iranian operatives who reportedly were collecting info on possible Israeli & Jewish targets in Germany, including Israeli embassy and a Jewish kindergarten.
8. A month before that, the German government issued an official protest to the Iranian ambassador following the conviction of an Iranian agent for spying in Germany. In that case, the agent scouted targets in 2016, including the head of the German-Israeli Association.
9. In April 2013, for example, two Iranian intelligence officers posted to Bosnia and Herzegovina as diplomats were expelled from the country after being involved in espionage and “connections to terrorism,”
10. in 2012, four IRGC-Qods Force operatives were found trying to attack Israeli targets in Turkey, and another was arrested in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he was conducting surveillance of a local synagogue.
11. According to a 1987 U.S. intelligence community assessment, several organizations within the Iranian government are involved in terrorism. That appears to remain the case today.
12. Acc 2 the 1987 intel report, “Dept 210 of the Foreign Ministry serves as a primary operations center for coordination with Iranian intelligence officers abroad, and is often used to instruct intelligence officers about terrorist operations...."
13. "...The Revolutionary Guard, which is the principal agent of Iranian terrorism in Lebanon, uses its own resources, as well as diplomatic and intelligence organizations, to support, sponsor, and conduct terrorist actions."
14. Between 1979 and 1994, the CIA reported that Iran “murdered Iranian defectors and dissidents in West Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Turkey.” Overall, more than 60 individuals were targeted in assassination attempts
15. On February 7 that year, General Gholam Ali Oveissi and his brother were fatally shot on a Paris street by what French police described as “professional assassins.”
16. On July 19, 1987, Amir Parvis, a former Iranian cabinet member and the British chairman of the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance, suffered a broken leg, cuts, and burns when a car bomb exploded as he drove past the Royal Kensington Hotel in London
17. on October 3, 1987, Ali Tavakoli and his son Nader, both Iranian monarchist exiles, were found shot in the head in their London apartment
18. On July 13, 1989, Dr. Abdolrahman Ghassemlou, SecGen of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan; Abdollah Ghaeri-Azar, the PDKI’s European representative; and Fazil Rassoul, an Iraqi Kurd serving as a mediator, were assassinated in a Vienna apt
19. on August 3, 1989, a Hezbollah operative by the name of Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh died when an explosive device he was preparing detonated prematurely inside the Paddington Hotel in London. His target was Salman Rushdie
20. Acc 2 the CIA, attacks on the Rushdie's Italian, Norwegian, and Japanese translators in July 1991 suggested “that Iran has shifted from attacking organizations affiliated with the novel—publishing houses & bookstores—2 individuals involved in its publication..."
21. Kazem Radjavi, former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and brother of the leader of the Iranian opposition group MEK, was assassinated on April 24, 1990
22. Acc to the report of the Swiss investigating judge, evidence pointed to the direct involvement of one or more official Iranian services in the Radjavi murder. All in all, there were 13 suspects—all of whom had traveled to Switzerland on official Iranian passports.
23. Chapour Bakhtiar, former Iranian prime minister and secretary-general of the Iranian National Resistance Movement, and an aide were stabbed to death by Iranian operatives in Bakhtiar’s Paris apartment. on August 6, 1991
24. Previously, in July 1980, Bakhtiar had been targeted in another assassination attempt led by Anis Naccache, which killed a policeman and a female neighbor.
25. In a 1991 interview, Naccache recalled, “I had no personal feelings against Bakhtiar … It was purely political. He had been sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Tribunal. They sent five of us to execute him"
26. The most daring/public assassinations #Hezbollah carried out at the behest of Iran occurred on Sep 17, 1992, when operatives gunned down Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, SecGen of the PDKI & 3 of his colleagues at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin
27. In 1980s, USIC concluded: over long term, Iran is likely 2b deterred from terrorism only if evidence results in strong, unified action by intl community, including a willingness to impose sanctions. This could include the breaking of relations, or the recall of ambassadors.
28. Today, law enforcement agencies around the world—and especially in Europe—are cooperating much more closely to deal with Iran and Hezbollah’s global terrorist and criminal activities.
29. For example, the U.S.-led Law Enforcement Coordination Group (LECG) has met six times in various locations around the world to address Hezbollah’s terrorist and criminal activities worldwide
30. The LECG will next meet in Europe in late 2018, where >30 governments—along with officials from Europol & Interpol—will convene to compare notes on Hezbollah activities in their far-flung jurisdictions and strategize on how to best cooperate to counter #Hezbollah
31. BC of Iran’s direct role in this latest plot, LECG officials are likely going to consider expanding their focus to include the full range of Iranian agents and proxies deployed by Tehran to carry out attacks abroad, including Iran’s diplomats and diplomatic facilities
32. Regulatory action would also be helpful, & it is worth noting there have been calls for the EU to designate not just Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group but to include the organization in its entirety, as well as expanded financial and diplomatic sanctions
32. European states should consider designating more Iranian institutions & personnel involved in Tehran’s illicit conduct, but they should also consider working to isolate Iran diplomatically so long as Tehran continues to abuse diplomatic privilege & use reps abroad to murder
Bottom line: As authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany dig deeper into the Assadi affair, they are likely to determine fairly quickly, as investigators invariably did in previous Iranian plots, that these are not rogue actions, but the actions of a rogue regime.
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