ABC News is reporting U.S. officials have disrupted an Iranian plot to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington, and assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington. Alas, if true, it seems the Islamic Republic, to which Obama wrote multiple letters and sought an unclenched fist, has responded definitively.
It will be interesting to see how groups seeking engagement and diluted sanctions against the Islamic Republic will react. After all, Internet chat groups show that Trita Parsi, the leader of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has denied any Iranian involvement in terrorism whatsoever. As Trita wrote, “There is no evidence hereto that links Iran to … any terrorist activities.” Mind you, this is after the Khobar Towers attack, kidnappings and bombings in Lebanon, and any number of assassinations in Europe.
NIAC and apologists for Iranian behavior will likely play the faction card: The Iranian government wasn’t responsible; it was a rogue group from the Qods Force or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Iranian government thrives on this plausible deniability, and it’s time the West stop falling for it. Governments are responsible for their actions, period.
I tried to address the issue of determining what constitutes rogue behavior in Iran in this article and in a subsequent presentation for the National Counter Terrorism Center. Long story short: Iran often conducts rogue operations and promotes those who participate. (Ahmad Vahidi, the current defense minister, was involved in the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing.) When an operation is truly rogue, the perpetrator, no matter how well connected, often ends up dead. However, because the Supreme Leader seldom gives a direct order, but rather is a dictator by veto power, there will rarely be a smoking gun. If we wait for one, the Supreme Leader will have won.