iran revolutionary guard.
(photo credit: AP)
A trial under way in Azerbaijan of two Hizbullah members and four Azeri collaborators accused of plotting an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Baku, has shed light on a wider effort by Iran to destabilize moderate Muslim states, an Israeli defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
According to reports published Sunday in the London-based Arabic daily A-Sharq al-Awsat and elsewhere, Azeri officials have accused Iran and Hizbullah of ordering the attack to avenge the February 2008 assassination of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.
"This was an attempt to strike Israel in a new place," the Israeli defense official told the Post. "Iran and Hizbullah are always looking for places in which a convenient infrastructure exists. They are looking for people willing to help."
Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, is a pro-Western Muslim country - the type of government the Iranians would be pleased to see toppled in an Islamic revolution, the official added.
He drew a link between Iranian-backed Hizbullah terror missions and Iranian efforts to destabilize Muslim countries deemed as being too moderate.
"There is Iranian involvement in all of the states that border Iran. As far as the Iranians are concerned, moderate Muslim states should be targeted for Islamic revolution," the official said.
He stressed that Iran's efforts at destabilizing Azerbaijan were similar to Iranian attempts to subvert Egypt. In April, Egyptian security forces announced a series of high-profile arrests of Hizbullah members, and accused them of planning terrorist outrages inside Egypt.
The arrests were accompanied by unprecedented condemnations by Cairo of Teheran and its Shi'ite Lebanese proxy, Hizbullah.
"Iran wants to exports its revolution to other states. They don't want to be alone in the region," the Israeli security source said.
Addressing the risk of additional terror plots against Israeli targets abroad, the official said, "The motivation for these attacks has not subsided. The threat remains. We remain on guard."