Iran-linked operatives plotted to assassinate US diplomats and terrorize the Jewish community in Azerbaijan as part of a broader campaign against Iran's enemies abroad, the Washington Post reported Monday.
According to the report, which cites unnamed officials with access to an intelligence report, new evidence has linked the Azerbaijan plot with Iranian-backed attempts to kill foreign diplomats -- including Israelis, Saudis and Americans -- in seven or more countries.
The report links Azerbaijan's arrest of 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran in March to the embassy plot. After the arrests, the threats of sniper and car-bomb assassinations apparently declined.
According to the report, Iran deliberately eased off the plots as sanctions mounted and it decided to return to negotiations over its nuclear programs.
“There appears to have been a deliberate attempt to calm things down ahead of the talks,” a Western diplomat told the Washington Post.
It remains unclear, according to the report, how far up the ladder of the Iranian government the plot originated, whether it was explicitly ordered, tacitly accepted by Iranian intelligence, or simply the work of Iranian proxy groups like Hezbollah.
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