Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Iranian Regime Steps up Efforts to Trap Opponents Abroad

Iranian Regime Steps up Efforts to Trap Opponents Abroad

Friday, 2 December, 2022 - 07:15
NA

American and Western security officials revealed that the Iranian regime has recently intensified its efforts to trap and intimidate its opponents around the world by using assassination and kidnapping attempts in the US, Canada, and many European countries.


According to an investigative report by the Washington Post, the Iranian government has stepped up its efforts to kidnap and kill government officials, activists, and journalists around the world, including in the US.


The report was based on government documents and interviews with 15 officials in Washington, Europe, and the Middle East, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.


Iran’s intelligence and security services rely largely on proxies to carry out their plans, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to jewel thieves, drug dealers and other criminals in murder-for-hire schemes, the officials said.


That hands-off approach probably caused some operations to fail, the officials said, as plots have been disrupted — and, in some cases, the hired hit men appear to have gotten cold feet and never carried out their orders.


Iran’s security services have carried out lethal operations abroad since the regime took power four decades ago, officials said.


More recently, they said, between 2015 and 2017, Tehran is believed to have killed at least three dissidents in Western Europe, including an Iranian Arab activist who was gunned down in front of his home in The Hague.


In 2018, an Iranian diplomat who was stationed in Vienna was arrested and accused of enlisting an Iranian couple living in Belgium to plant a bomb at a huge rally in Paris for the Mujahideen-e Khalq, or MEK, an exiled opposition group.


The tempo of the plots has dramatically increased in the past two years, and they are among the most ambitious and far-reaching in recent memory, according to the officials and documents.


Iran’s actions have led to diplomatic expulsions and warnings to potential targets from governments.


Editor Picks

Multimedia