Cold Cases and New Arrests Concerning Iran’s Global Terrorism

The author, Cullen Thomas, points out that if Iran proves to be involved in Nisman’s death, it will be only part of a rather long history of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks around the world. Thomas points to the wounding of Ettore Capriolo and of William Nygaard, and particularly to the assassination of Hitoshi Igarashi in Japan in 1991. All three were associated with translations or publications of the book The Satanic Verses, the subject of a fatwa by Islamic Republic of Iran founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei.

But Thomas adds that these victims are only a few of many that have emerged through the years, and he indicates that the overseas reach of Tehran’s violent activities continues to this day. He quotes the State Department’s 2013 report on state terrorism as saying, “Since 2012, the United States has also seen a resurgence of activity by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah.”

Attaching specific names to the threat of Iran’s possible operations in the West, the Phoenix New Times reported on Monday that three individuals had been arrested in Arizona and accused of concealing their affiliation with the Badr Corps, an Iran-trained Shiite militia that has carried out terrorist and paramilitary operations in Iraq since the 1980s.

There is no information yet about whether Hadi Assi Mubarak and his two sons, Haidar and Ali provided false reports simply to secure immigration to the US for personal reasons or whether they had emigrated on the orders of the Badr Corps leadership or Tehran itself. But there are indications that the men attempted to use additional false statements to bring others to the US to join them. Ali, also known as Jihad Hadi Mubarak, filed two separate petitions claiming two different women as his wife.

The Badr Corps is only one of many Islamist groups affiliated with, trained, or controlled by Iran, and some others are much more familiar to the average reader in the US. The Tower reports that new evidence has emerged detailing Iran’s coordination with Al Qaeda, specifically through its harboring of a Saudi national named Saleh al-Qarawi, the founder of an Al Qaeda affiliate called the Abdullah Al-Azzam Brigades.

This relationship has reportedly been ongoing at least since 2007, and has been connected to several terrorist operations including a planned attack on a US military base in Jordan. But Iran’s relationship with certain Al Qaeda faction goes back much further than that, as Tehran made a concerted effort to improve relations with the terrorist group after its bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The leadership of both Tehran and certain Al Qaeda groups reportedly then gave orders to ignore their traditional sectarian differences for the sake of confronting their mutual enemies in the West.

Historical incidents such as these encourage some critics of current US policy toward Iran to decry any perception of Shiite Iran as a natural ally in conflict against Sunni extremists such as the Islamic State. Although Iran has been fighting that organization in Iraq and Syria, there are some indications that the two are not interested in extending their conflict beyond currently disputed territory.

UPI reported on Monday that IS has responded positively to Iran’s declaration of a 24 mile buffer zone west of the Iran-Iraq border. Iranian Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan claimed that IS had “left the area immediately” in response to the warning, and Brigadier General Kiumars Heidari announced on Sunday that a mission of the Iranian ground forces to safeguard the border had ended 45 days after it had begun.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that an IS affiliated exploded two bombs at the abandoned residence of the Iranian ambassador to Libya – a move that could be seen as a symbolic attack that deliberately avoided any escalation between the Sunni and Shiite powers.