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6 Mar, 2024 00:32

Iranian spy on mission to kill US officials – FBI

The agency has claimed that an intelligence agent is plotting revenge for Washington’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani
Iranian spy on mission to kill US officials – FBI

The FBI has alleged that an Iranian intelligence agent is recruiting operatives in the US to help kill current and former government officials who were involved in the January 2020 assassination of Tehran’s top general.

Majid Dastjani Farahani is wanted for questioning in connection with the plot to target US officials, the FBI’s Miami office said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). An FBI wanted poster for the 41-year-old Farahani claims that he has acted or is purported to act on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security while recruiting individuals for operations in the US.

Farahani is engaged in “lethal targeting” of senior US officials, including members of former President Donald Trump’s administration, to take revenge for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, the FBI claimed.

Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport while traveling to meet with Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq’s then-prime minister. Washington said at the time that Soleimani was complicit in attacks on US diplomatic and military sites in Iraq and Syria. 

Some Iranian officials made no secret of their desire to avenge Soleimani’s death by killing Trump and other US leaders, such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the military commanders involved in the assassination. “God willing, we are looking to kill Trump [and] Pompeo,” IRGC air force commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh told a state-run outlet last year.

John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security advisor, has been the target of multiple Iranian assassination plots, according to the US authorities. The federal government has provided 24-hour security details for Bolton and another senior Trump aide, Robert O’Brien, reportedly at an annual cost of about $12 million, because of potential threats from Iran.

The US Department of Justice indicted an alleged IRGC operative, Shahram Poursafi, in August 2022, claiming he had tried to arrange the murder of Bolton. He allegedly arranged to pay his recruits $300,000 to carry out the killing. “Iran has a history of plotting to assassinate individuals in the US it deems a threat, but the US government has a longer history of holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our citizens,” Larissa L. Knapp, an assistant director in the FBI’s national security branch, said at the time. 

Farahani recruited individuals with connections to “religious sites, businesses and other facilities” in the US to do surveillance work, the FBI said.