BEIRUT, Lebanon – Less than nine months later, an assassin on a motorbike shot an al Qaeda commander who was granted asylum in Tehran, Iran’s chief nuclear scientist machine-gunning a country’s road Were, and two separate, mysterious explosions had shaken an important Iranian nuclear facility in the desert, the heart of the nation’s efforts to enrich uranium.
The steady drunkenness of the attacks, which intelligence officials said were carried out by Israel, highlighted the ease with which Israeli intelligence was able to reach deep within Iran’s borders and repeatedly at its heaviest watchman targets. Used to attack, often with the help of turnkey Iranians.
The latest wave in more than two decades of attacks, sabotage and killings has revealed embarrassing security lapses and left Iran’s leaders on their shoulders as they negotiate with the Biden administration aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal Are chasing
Recreation is caustic.
The head of the Parliament’s strategic center said Iran had become a “base of spies”. The former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ignored the country’s security and intelligence apparatus. Lawmakers have demanded the resignation of top security and intelligence officials.
Iranian officials and analysts said that Iran had an effective network of allies and that Iran’s intelligence services had failed to find Moles.
Sanam Waqil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, said, “Israel is effectively shameful of penetrating inside Iran in such a brutal manner and exhibits a weakness that I think is inside Iran Plays poorly. “
These attacks have put a cloud of paranoia on a country which now sees foreign plots in every accident.
Over the weekend, Iranian state television flashed a picture of a man, 43-year-old Raza Karimi, and accused him of being a “perpetrator of sabotage” Explosion in Natanz nuclear enrichment plant last month. But it was not clear who he was, whether he acted alone and if that was also his real name. In any case, he had fled the country before the explosion, Iran’s intelligence ministry said.
On Monday, Iranian state news media reported that Brig. The foul play was immediately suspected when General Mohammed Hosinzadeh Haji, the Commander of the Foreign Branch of the Revolutionary Guards, died of heart disease.
General Hejazi had long been the target of Israeli espionage, and the son of another prominent Quds Force commander insisted on Twitter that Mr Hayazi’s death was “not cardiac-related.”
A spokesman for Revolutionary Guards failed to clear the air with a statement saying Iran’s recent exposure to the Kovid-19 infection and chemical weapons during the Iraq War resulted in the combined effects of an “extremely difficult assignment” Went.
The general will be the third high-ranking Iranian military officer in the last 15 months. United States Major General Qasim Sulemani killedIn January of last year, the leader of Quds Force. Israel Mohsin Fakhrizadeh murdered, Iran’s leading nuclear scientist and a brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guard in November.
Even though General Hejazi died of natural causes, the cumulative loss of the three top generals was a significant setback.
The attacks represent ridicule by the intelligence services of Israel and the United States in a long-running campaign that considers Iran’s threatened activities.
One of them is the main nuclear program, in which Iran is peaceful, Iran’s investment in proxy militias across the Arab world, and the development of precisely guided missiles for the terrorist movement Hezbollah in Lebanon.
An Israeli military intelligence document in 2019 stated that General Hejazi was a pioneer in the last two, the commander of the Lebanese Corps of the Quad Force and leader of the guided missile project. The spokesman of the Revolutionary Guards, Ramadan Sharif, said that Israel wanted to assassinate him.
Israel is working to derail Iran’s nuclear program, which it considers a mortal threat, since it began. Israel is believed to have started killing key figures at the event in 2007, when a nuclear scientist died in a mysterious gas leak at a uranium plant in Isfahan.
In the years since, six other scientists and military officials said significant assassinations had been committed to Iran’s nuclear efforts. A seventh was injured.
Another top-notch commander of the force, Rustam Ghasemi, recently stated that he survived an Israeli assassination attempt during a visit to Lebanon in March.
But murder is just one tool in a campaign that works on many levels and fronts.
In 2018 Israel Raid night raid Stealing half a ton of the secret archives of Iran’s nuclear program from a warehouse in Tehran.
Israel has also reached the world, tracking equipment in other countries obliged to destroy it for Iran, concealing a transponder in its packaging, or installing explosive devices that explode after gear is installed inside Iran. Contacting the US intelligence officer.
A former Israeli intelligence operative said that in order to compromise such equipment, he and another officer would drive from the factory and stage a crisis, such as a car accident or heart attack, and the woman asked the guards for help. Will appeal He gained enough access to the facility to identify his security system so that another team could break into it and deactivate it, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he went on to discuss clandestine operations Was not authorized.
In an interview on Iranian state television last week, Iran’s former nuclear chief revealed its origins Explosion at Natgen Nuclear Plant in July. Fereyudun Abbasi-Dawani, the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said the explosives were sealed inside a heavy desk that had been stored at the plant months earlier.
Explosion through a factory producing a new generation of centrifugal, Bringing back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program For months, officials said.
Alirza Zakani, head of the Parliament’s research center, said on Tuesday that in another case the machinery from the nuclear site was sent abroad for repair and returned to Iran with 300 pounds of explosives packed inside it.
It would have been difficult for Israel to carry out these operations without help from within Iran, and Iran might have benefited the most.
Security officials in Iran have prosecuted several Iranian civilians over the past decade, accusing them of Israeli sabotage and assassination actions. Is fined Execution.
But the incursion has also affected the reputation of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence wing, which is responsible for the safety of nuclear sites and scientists.
A former guard commander called for a “cleanup” of the intelligence service, and Iran’s vice president, Ishaq Jahangiri, said the unit responsible for security in Natanz “should be held accountable for its failures.”
Deputy Head of Parliament, Amir-Hosain Ghazizadeh Hashmi, told the Iranian news media on Monday that it was no longer enough to blame Israel and the United States for such attacks; Iran needed to clean its house.
As a publication associated with the Guards, Mashreg News put it last week: “Why does the security of the nuclear facility work so irresponsibly that it hits the same hole twice?”
But the Revolutionary Guard only responds to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and there is no sign of an upside-down reshuffle yet.
After each attack, Iran has struggled to answer, Sometimes after claiming to identify those responsibilities, he would leave the country or say that he remained on a large scale. Iranian officials also insisted that they thwarted other attacks.
Calls for vengeance grow louder after each attack. Conservatives have accused President Hassan Rouhani’s government of undermining the country’s security for nuclear talks and hoping to be relieved of US sanctions.
Indeed, Iranian officials called him “strategic patience” in the final year of the Trump administration, which Israel sought to mobilize him in an open conflict that would end the possibility of negotiations with a new Democratic administration.
Both Mr. Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif have said that they will not allow the attacks to derail because lifting the ban was a priority.
It is also possible that Iran tried to retaliate but failed.
Iran was blamed for a bomb that exploded near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi in January, and 15 militants were linked to Iran Were arrested in Ethiopia last month For plotting attacks on Israeli, American and Emirati targets.
But any over-retaliation threatens Israel’s massive backlash.
“They are not in a hurry to start a war,” said Talal Atrisi, a political science professor at Lebanon University in Beirut. “Vengeance means war.”
In contrast, Israel’s latest attack on Natja suggested that At least to undermine Iran’s bargaining power, Israel sought not to derail negotiations. Israel opposed the 2015 nuclear deal and opposed its resurgence.
The US sought talks with Iran in Vienna, saying it was not involved in the attack but has not publicly criticized it.
And if repeated Israeli attacks have the effect of thwarting a national stupor, an intelligence official said, there was a side benefit to Israel. The official said the additional steps Iran has taken to scan buildings for surveillance equipment and root out potential spies have slowed down the enrichment operations.
Conventional wisdom is that neither side wants full-scale war nor is relying on the other to move forward. But at the same time, Covert, Territorial Shadow Wars Israeli airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias in Syria between Israel and Iran have intensified for Tet attacks for ships.
Ms Vacill of Chatham House said that after facing Iran’s struggling economy, facing the Kovid-19 transition and other problems of poor governance, pressure to reach a new agreement soon to remove economic sanctions is.
“The lower-level, gray zone attacks suggest that the Islamic Republic needs to get the JCPOA back in a box immediately” to free up resources to address its other problems, he said, nuclear. Referring to the agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Eric Schmidt reported from Washington, and Hveda Saad from Beirut, Lebanon contributed.