America’s chief foreign negotiator has a message for Iran: stop assassinating people. The problem is, nobody from security experts to Iranian dissidents has any idea what the hell he means.
The Guardian picks up the story:
Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is carrying out ‘assassination operations in the heart of Europe’ has bewildered security experts and Iranian exiles, who say they are not aware of any evidence for the allegation.
The new US secretary of state referred to the alleged assassinations in his first major speech on Monday, but devoted just a single line to it amid a litany of criticisms of Iranian behaviour, giving no further details.
‘Today, the Iranian Quds Force conducts covert assassination operations in the heart of Europe,’ Pompeo said, referring to the external operations arm of the Islamic revolutionary guards corps (IRGC).
Experts told The Guardian there haven’t been any assassinations in which Iran is even considered a suspect, since the early 1990s.
Even the State Department’s spokeswoman was dumbfounded (which admittedly, is not a rare occurrence):
Asked about Pompeo’s statement, the state department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said: ‘He has information and access to information that I do not. I am not able to comment on that in particular but I can tell the secretary has assured me that there is a basis for that point in his speech and he stands firmly behind that.’
US diplomats specialising in Iran were taken by surprise by Pompeo’s allegations.
The startling charge comes at the same time as Pompeo’s announcement of a list of 12 impudent demands on Iran, most of which have almost no connection to geopolitical reality.
Maybe Pompeo has spent too much time on the phone with Bibi Netanyahu lately, and accidentally confused the ongoing killing and abduction activities of Israel’s secret service, Mossad, with those of Iran.
Just last month, on April 21, 2018, a Palestinian engineer named Fadi al-Batash was shot 14 times and left for dead in Kuala Lumpur. Two suspects of “light-skinned, European appearance” sped away on a motorcycle. Mossad is widely suspected.
On December 17, 2016, Palestinian aviation engineer Mohamed Zaouari was murdered in Tunisia, a killing the Palestinian militant group Hamas blamed on Mossad.
On December 21, 2015, Israel killed 12 people in Damascus, including two Iranian intelligence officers, and several members of the Lebanese group Hizbollah.
Israel has even eliminated targets inside Iran itself. On January 11, 2012, Mossad was blamed for killing an Iranian nuclear engineer, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, using a bomb in Tehran.
Mossad also is believed to have assassinated an Iranian general, Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who worked on Iran’s ballistic missile program, on November 12, 2011.
Nor is Europe excluded from the field of Israeli operations. Also in 2011, Mossad abducted Palestinian Dirar Abu Sisi from a train in Kharkov, Ukraine, and took him to Israel. Ironically, he was accused of having knowledge of the kidnapping of an Israeli.
So while nobody can name a single assassination conducted by Iran in the last 25 years – not least of which in Europe – multiple Iranians have been killed by Israel in the last decade, including inside Iran itself.
Yes, it seems Mike has definitely been hanging out with Bibi too long.
Of course, Donald Trump’s (or is it Netanyahu’s?) new Secretary of State has been waging a war of words against Tehran since long before he took over the top spot at Foggy Bottom.
Formerly one of the most jingoistic members of Congress, Pompeo, “first in his class at West Point”, has argued for more forceful and aggressive US foreign policy towards Iran, Syria, and Russia – to name a few.
Obviously, a great choice to lead America’s diplomats.
As we’ve seen in conduct dating back to the Iraq War in 2003, Washington’s spokesmen are not only entitled to their own opinions, they also seem entitled to their own facts.
Top Photo | Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes his seat as he prepares to testify at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 23, 2018. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Ricky Twisdale is a writer for The Duran, where this article first appeared. He is based in Moscow.