Counterterror official: Iran ‘more willing’ to attack within the U.S.

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 16:49 EDT
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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Republic Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses the general debate of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly. 22 September 2011 United Nations, New York.
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Extremist militias connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard are “more willing” than ever before to attack targets within the United States, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew G. Olsen told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Olsen cited a case brought by U.S. officials against five Iranian men, accused of a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prosecutors say the-plot hinged upon the detonation of a “weapon of mass destruction” in a Washington restaurant before it was disrupted by law enforcement late last year. Iran denies that it was involved.

“The disrupted Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States in late 2011 demonstrates that Iran is more willing to conduct terrorist operations inside the United States than was previously assessed,” he said in prepared remarks.

“As part of the plot, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force attempted to use a dual Iranian-U.S. national to recruit Mexican criminal organizations to conduct the assassination, raising our concerns that Iran may seek to leverage its growing ties to Latin America to conduct activities in the U.S.,” Olsen added.

Olsen went on to say that Iranian-linked militias have been carrying out ever more high profile attacks on Israeli diplomats, warning that the regime is continuing to expand ties with militant groups like Hezbollah and others around the world as far away as central and south America, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India and Thailand. He warned that the Revolutionary Guard is known to provide “weapons, money, and training” to these groups, particularly in Syria and Lebanon.

(H/T: The Washington Times)

Photo: United Nations, New York.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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