A new intelligence report has warned that Iran may be plotting to assassinate top former United States officials in revenge for the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani two years ago.
The June 16 intelligence assessment from the National Counter Terrorism Center was issued just two days before President Joe Biden announced his current Middle East tour, according to Yahoo News.
Biden on Wednesday opened his first visit to the Mideast since taking office with a stop in Israel, where Iran’s nuclear ambitions were expected to be the top item on the agenda.
According to the intelligence report, Iran has identified former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other officials as ‘priority targets’ for their role in overseeing the January 2020 US drone strike that killed Soleimani as he visited Iraq.
Iran has long openly made bombastic threats to take revenge for Soleimani’s death, but the new report offers further confirmation that US officials are taking the threats seriously.
The intelligence report, which is marked as unclassified but as ‘for official use only,’ was widely distributed inside the government and to law enforcement agencies nationwide.
‘Since January 2021, Tehran has publicly expressed a willingness to conduct lethal operations inside the United States and has consistently identified former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and former CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie as among its priority targets for retribution,’ the report says.
‘Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions,’ the assessment adds.
The report warns that Iran is ‘waging a multipronged campaign’ to avenge Soleimani’s death, including ‘threats of lethal action, international legal maneuvering, and the issuance of Iranian arrest warrants and sanctions.’
NCTC, which issued the assessment, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Wednesday evening.
The assessment was based on statements and actions taken by the Iranian government, and describes foiled plots to assassinate US officials as well as legal maneuvers and threats against specific officials.
Iran has made no secret of its thirst for vengeance against Trump and other officials, publicly vowing ‘hard revenge’ and making other blustering threats.
In January, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei shared an animated video that appeared to show a robot calling in a drone strike on Trump while he played golf at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
The footage, titled ‘Revenge is Inevitable’, was part of a contest to mark the two-year anniversary of the Soleimani’s death.
Meanwhile, Biden on Wednesday arrived in Jerusalem and offered anxious Israeli leaders strong reassurances of his determination to stop Iran’s growing nuclear program, saying he’d be willing to use force as a ‘last resort.’
‘The only thing worse than the Iran that exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons,’ Biden said in an interview broadcast on Israel’s Channel 12. Asked about using military force against Iran, Biden said, ‘If that was the last resort, yes.’
Biden made reviving the Iran nuclear deal, brokered by Barack Obama in 2015 and abandoned by Trump in 2018, a key priority as he entered office.
Biden said Trump made a “gigantic mistake” by withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal.
“There are those who thought with the last administration we sort of walked away from the Middle East, that we were going to create a vacuum that China and or Russia would fill, and we can´t let that happen,” he said.
But indirect talks for the US to reenter the deal have stalled as Iran has made rapid gains in developing its nuclear program.
That’s left the Biden administration increasingly pessimistic about resurrecting the deal, which placed significant restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Source » dailymail