Iran has increased efforts to target critics of the regime living abroad, as well as planning attacks on Israelis and US citizens, often subcontracting the attacks to hired local proxies, according to a Thursday report.

Members of the Jewish community and individuals with links to Israel were among those targeted, as well as dissidents and media outlets critical of Tehran, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper based its reporting on government documents and interviews with 15 officials in Washington, Europe and the Middle East.

The newspaper revealed further details on a thwarted plan last year to kill Israelis in Colombia, saying the assassins were recruited in a Dubai prison.

The report said Rahmat Asadi, an operative for the intelligence arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was initially jailed in the United Arab Emirates for the kidnapping and death of an Iranian British businessman.

While in prison, he is alleged to have met two Colombian brothers who were involved in international jewelry theft.

Officials told the Washington Post that Asadi trained the brothers to carry out “lethal operations” and assigned them to kill Americans and Israelis in Colombia after they were released in 2021

The report said the brothers “never followed through with the operations” but that their recruitment shows that Iran had built a global network to carry out attacks. Colombian reports at the time said the plot was uncovered by the Mossad.

The report also noted a plan to kill French Jewish journalist Bernard-Henri Levy in Paris using an Iranian drug dealer

Levy was targeted by IRGC’s Quds Force, which hired the drug dealer for $150,000.

That man in turn recruited others to help carry out the ultimately doomed attack, the report said.

The report said the French national was targeted for speaking out against the Iranian regime.

The Washington Post also noted attempts to kill Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus — an Azerbaijani national and three citizens of Pakistani have been charged in connection with that plot.

There were also operations in the US to try and kill former national security adviser John Bolton and kidnap Iranian-American journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad.

Shahram Poursafi was named in the report as the IRGC member behind the attempt on Bolton, and he was said to also be responsible for the plan to kill Itzik Moshe, a prominent Georgian-Israeli living in Tbilisi.

The report said many of the attempted killings had been subcontracted by Iran to thieves, drug dealers and other criminals in return for payouts of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Officials said the attempted use of hitmen meant that many of the plans failed or were thwarted.

However the report said officials believe that the continued multiple attempts to carry out the killings mean they will eventually succeed, potentially sparking a wider and more direct conflict with Tehran.

Hebrew-language reporting has suggested that many of these plots were thwarted due to Israeli intelligence.

Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 said last month that Iran wants to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals it deems “enemies of the regime,” with at least 10 such plots uncovered so far this year.

Threats were said to have escalated against UK-based Iranian journalists reporting on the ongoing protests against Tehran’s regime, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for allegedly violating the dress code.

A report Wednesday said German authorities also believe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is behind a string of recent attacks on synagogues.

Officials told the Washington Post that the orders to carry out killings and kidnappings came from the top levels of the Iranian government.

The report said many of the plots were planned to avenge the January 2020 killing of Iranian al-Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani.

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - Rise in Iran’s use of hired assassins in plots against dissidents, Israelis and Jews - Toi Staff
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Rise in Iran’s use of hired assassins in plots against dissidents, Israelis and Jews

44 38 1
03.12.2022

Iran has increased efforts to target critics of the regime living abroad, as well as planning attacks on Israelis and US citizens, often subcontracting the attacks to hired local proxies, according to a Thursday report.

Members of the Jewish community and individuals with links to Israel were among those targeted, as well as dissidents and media outlets critical of Tehran, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper based its reporting on government documents and interviews with 15 officials in Washington, Europe and the Middle East.

The newspaper revealed further details on a thwarted plan last year to kill Israelis in Colombia, saying the assassins were recruited in a Dubai prison.

The report said Rahmat Asadi, an operative for the intelligence arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was initially jailed in the United Arab Emirates for the kidnapping and death of an Iranian British businessman.

While in prison, he is alleged to have met two Colombian brothers who were involved in international jewelry theft.

Officials told the Washington Post that Asadi trained the brothers to carry out “lethal operations” and assigned them to kill Americans and Israelis in Colombia after they were released in 2021

The report said the brothers “never followed through with the operations” but that their recruitment shows that Iran had built a global network to carry out........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play