Do Iranian militia groups pose a threat to the Mainland U.S.?
Iran’s extremist militias and their proxies were behind a recent string of terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomatic targets around the globe and might seek to strike the United States, U.S. counterterrorism officials said Wednesday.
“Quds Force, Hezbollah
and others have shown they both have the capability and the willingness to extend beyond that [Middle East] region of the world and likely here into the homeland itself,” Kevin L. Perkins
, associate deputy director of the FBI
, told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
“We look at it as a serious threat,” he added, saying the bureau is “focusing intelligence analysts and other resources on that on a daily basis to monitor that threat.”
Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center
, said “Iran
remains the foremost state-sponsor of terrorism in the world. We have seen an uptick in operational activity by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
and the Quds Force
over the last year or so.”
The Quds Forceis the elite division of the Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
, responsible for operations abroad, and Mr. Olsen
cited the federal prosecution last year of a foiled Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a Washington restaurant.
A senior official of the Quds Force, Gholam Shakuri
, was indicted in October for his involvement in the plot, which actually was an elaborate sting by a Drug Enforcement Administration
informant. He remains at large in Iran
The Treasury Department later sanctioned both the Quds Force
and its commander, Brig. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, for their roles in the plot.
Iranhas denied the charges.
The Quds Forceand the Lebanese Shiite extremist militia Hezbollah
, which the Iranians have used as a proxy for terrorist attacks in the past, have been “reaching outside of their normal areas of operation in the Middle East and conducting attacks elsewhere,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and committee chairman.
Adding to concern about Hezbollah is an article in the Times of London on Wednesday based on an interview with a major general in the Syrian army who recently defected. Gen. Adnan Sillu told the paper that the Syrian regime had plans to provide chemical weapons to Hezbollah
for use in rocket attacks against Israel.
The regime now has “nothing to lose” in sharing the weapons, he added. “If a war starts between Hezbollah and Israel, it will be only good for Syria.”
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on the British embassy in Tehran. A desperate pursuit of nuclear weapons
. A plot to assassinate
the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Alone, any one of these actions by Iran’s regime would be cause for alarm, but taken together they make it undeniably clear that the Iranian threat cannot be ignored. Now, there is news of another effort by Iran to take aim at the United States, this time coming from Latin America.
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