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Iran reportedly hiring assassins to target Iranian dissidents, Jews, Israelis

Iranian demonstrators hold up portraits of the former commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qasem Soleimani (C), Iranian Nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (R), and Iran’s Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini while standing behind a torn Israeli flag during a rally commemorating the International Quds Day, also known as the Jerusalem day, April 29, 2022. (Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto)

The Iranian ayatollah regime has reportedly increased its use of assassins to target Jews, Israelis and Iranian dissidents abroad, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. 

While Tehran has used assassinations as a political tool in the past, it has increased its efforts over the past two years to murder or kidnap critics and dissidents around the world. 

The Washington Post said its report was based on documents and interviews with 15 officials in the United States, the Middle East and Europe. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s target bank is diverse and has been shown to include pop culture personalities, such as Ramin Seyed Emami, an Iranian-Canadian musician and performer who heads a popular Persian-language podcast. Emami’s program often includes interviews with individuals living in Iran who are critical of the fundamentalist ayatollah regime. 

Emami told The Washington Post that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned him last summer he was on Iran’s hit list. 

“The general feeling I got was they were beginning to take this issue seriously,” Emami said. “They realize if people are being threatened on their own land, it’s a whole different story.”

Without elaborating on specifics, an unnamed member of CSIS told the Washington Post that the organization “is aware that hostile state actors, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, monitor and intimidate Canadian communities, with diaspora communities often disproportionately targeted.” 

“CSIS is actively investigating several threats to life emanating from the Islamic Republic of Iran based on credible intelligence. Ultimately, these hostile activities and foreign interference undermine the security of Canada and Canadians, as well as our democratic values and sovereignty,” the official said.

For Emami, the threat from the Iranian regime is not merely theoretical. His own father, an environmentalist, died in one of Iran’s notorious prisons in 2018. Following his death, his wife – Emami’s mother – was blocked from leaving Iran for more than a year. 

The Iranian regime also tried to murder prominent French Jewish journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy in Paris, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force reportedly offering $150,000 to an Iranian drug dealer to assassinate Lévy.  

Iran likely targeted the intellectual due to his prominent position as a leading Western critic of the ayatollah regime’s flagrant human rights violations in Iran. 

In August, the United States Department of Justice announced charges against an Iranian citizen who reportedly planned to assassinate former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who served under former President Donald Trump. 

Bolton, a political hawk, advocated a tough U.S. response to the Iranian nuclear threat; the assassination attempt against him was reportedly Tehran’s revenge for Washington’s elimination of notorious Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January 2020. 

This November, security forces in the Republic of Georgia reportedly prevented Iranian-hired assassins from murdering Itsik Moshe, an Israeli citizen who serves as the president of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business. 

The foiled plot against Moshe reportedly required the assistance of Georgian-Iranian nationals who were tasked with smuggling the weapons for the assassination from Turkey to Georgia. 

Iran has also tried to carry out assassinations against Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus and elsewhere. 

While targeting Jews and Israeli nationals, the Islamic regime appears to mainly target Iranian dissidents living abroad. U.S. authorities succeeded in foiling an attempt to kidnap Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian-American journalist and critic of the Islamic regime, who lives in New York City. 

While many of Iran’s plots have been foiled, Tehran clearly aims to intimidate critics and dissidents, regardless of where they reside. 

“I’m still shocked that the Islamic Republic has tried on two occasions to eliminate me, an American citizen, on U.S. soil. And not paid a price,” Alinejad said

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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