The US government believes that Iran may try to assassinate current or former US officials as a way of revenge for the killing of Qasem Soleimani back in January 2020, Yahoo News reported earlier this week.
According to an intelligence report obtained exclusively by Yahoo News, "the Iranian regime is waging a multipronged campaign - including threats of lethal action, international legal maneuvering and the issuance of Iranian arrest warrants and sanctions — against select US officials to avenge the death of IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani in January 2020, raising the threat at home and abroad for those Iran views as responsible for the killing."
Soleimani was considered to be one of the most powerful men in Iran during the final years of his life, serving as the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, an elite part of Iran's military forces.
On January 3, 2020, Soleimani was assassinated in a targeted US drone strike in Iraq on the orders of then-president Donald Trump.
Now, according to the report obtained by Yahoo News, Iran is seeking to avenge his death.
"Since January 2021, Tehran has publicly expressed a willingness to conduct lethal operations inside the United States and has consistently identified former president Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and former CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie as among its priority targets for retribution,” Yahoo quotes the report as saying.
“Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions.”
The intelligence report was widely circulated inside the US government, as well as across law enforcement departments nationwide, Yahoo reported. The report is based on an analysis of statements and other actions taken by the Iranian regime and describes foiled plots to assassinate government officials and legal maneuvers and threats against specific US officials.
Iran, the US and the JCPOA
The intelligence report, marked "Not for Public Release" and "For Official Use Only" is dated June 16, 2022, two days after the White House announced US President Joe Biden's trip to Israel, which took place between July 13-15.
A large portion of Biden's trip was dedicated to discussing Iran and the future of the 2015 Nuclear Deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the revival of which has been the subject of ongoing talks since late 2021.
While in Israel, Biden assured Prime Minister Yair Lapid that the US will not wait indefinitely for Iran to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, but declined to set a deadline for the end of the negotiations.