Iran’s Quds Force expanding in Europe, S. America

Iranian force responsible for operations overseas believed to be increasing presence in effort to deter West from taking action against its nuclear program.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, responsible for operations overseas, is believed to be in the midst of expanding its activities and operations in Europe and South America, senior defense officials said this week.
The bolstering of the Quds Force’s presence in Europe is understood within Israel and the US as part of an Iranian effort to deter the Western world from taking stronger action against its continued development of a nuclear weapon.
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“By establishing this infrastructure, the Iranians are making clear that their response to an attack against their nuclear facilities will be worldwide,” one official said.
The Quds Force is believed to already have extensive infrastructure in Africa and South America, which it uses to launder money needed to finance its terrorist activities.
The force was established shortly after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 with the objective of exporting the revolution to additional countries and of supporting Iran’s various terror proxies, such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah. It is believed to be responsible for the bombing in 1994 against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
Israel is concerned that the growing Quds infrastructure could be used to facilitate terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets overseas, particularly in the coming weeks and ahead of the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh, attributed to the Mossad.
The upcoming anniversary in late February prompted the defense establishment to renew its security recently over former chief of staff Lt.-Gen (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi amid concerns that he could be targeted by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is believed to be actively seeking revenge for the assassination, and over the years there have been reports of a number of plots that were thwarted including an attempt to bomb the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan.
Israel recently asked Bulgaria, for example, to increase its security over Israeli tour groups in the capital city of Sofia. According to Sofia news agency, a Hezbollah plot was recently uncovered by local security agencies, which warned Israel.
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