Iran-Linked Spies Tried To Kill U.S. Diplomats
Operatives linked to Iran tried to kill foreign diplomats, including Israelis and Americans, in at least seven countries over 13 months, the Washington Post reported.
New evidence uncovered by investigators in four countries linked the assassination attempts to either Iran-backed Hezbollah militants or operatives based inside Iran, the Post reported Monday, citing U.S. and Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials reportedly said that the assassination attempts stopped in early spring, when Iran began to take a softer tone with the West. Shortly after, Iranian officials formally accepted a proposal to resume negotiations with six world powers on proposals to limit its nuclear program.
It is unclear whether the assassination attempts were ordered by Iranian government officials or carried out with authorities’ approval by intelligence operatives or a proxy group such as Hezbollah, according to the report cited by the Post.
Diplomats were also targeted in five other countries: India, Turkey, Thailand, Pakistan and the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
In March, 22 people were arrested in Azerbaijan on suspicion of planning to attack American, Israeli and Jewish targets. The previous month, suspected terrorists with links to Iran and Hezbollah were arrested in Azerbaijan and accused of planning terrorist attacks against foreigners in Baku, the capital. In January, at least two men were arrested after planning an attack on two Israeli teachers – Chabad emissaries at the Or Avner school in Baku.
Israel Aerospace Industries, a state-run company, signed a $1.6 billion deal in February to sell sophisticated military technology to Azerbaijan.
Also in March, Azerbaijan officials denied a claim in Foreign Policy Magazine that Israel was granted access to several airbases in the Caucasus nation, located on Iran’s northern border.