- THE INVESTIGATIVE PROJECT ON TERRORISM - Potkin Azarmehr - OCT 01, 2021 -
An unprecedented operation involving 15 international security agencies has exposed an Iranian terror infrastructure that was planning a series of assassinations against Israeli and Western targets around the world.
It started in June, when Colombia's Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia (DNI) issued an imminent security alert after determining two Israeli businessmen were the targets of an assassination attempt planned and financed by a high-ranking Iranian Quds Force officer. That officer, Rahmat Asadi, is regarded by Western intelligence organizations as a dangerous terrorist.
The businessmen and their families had to quickly leave Bogotá under rigorous security measures.
Asadi, 40, previously was implicated in another foreign murder plot. He was arrested in Bangkok in 2014 and extradited to the UAE for taking part in the abduction and murder of Abbas Yazdanpanah, (aka Abbas Yazdi), a dual UK-Iranian businessman who lived in Dubai.
Asadi was quietly released in an October 2020 prisoner swap between the UAE and Iran. This came as news to Yazdanpanah's widow, Atena. When I contacted her last week, she said "it was impossible for the UAE to have released Rahmat Asadi because I had a pending lawsuit against him." She later texted me back saying it was true that Asadi had been released and no one had told her. She declined further comment.
The Colombia investigation, with the reported help of 15 other foreign intelligence agencies, led to the identification of a sophisticated Quds Force infrastructure to carry out similar actions in Azerbaijan, the United States, Bulgaria and Africa by hiring professional hit
men and drug cartels.
There are numerous precedents for such bold Iranian plotting. In 2011, U.S. authorities charged two Iranian men with plotting to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Manssor Arbabsiar pleaded guilty to three counts related to a murder-for-hire scheme and received a 25-year prison sentence. Prosecutors say the scheme was led by the Quds Force, which they said "conducts sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations, and kidnappings."
Iran has killed at least 21 dissidents throughout the world and has plotted dozens of attacks against Jewish, Israeli, Arab and Western targets, a 2020 U.S. Institute of Peace report claimed.
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