Azerbaijan arrested 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran, accusing them of links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. (STRINGER/IRAN - REUTERS)
The Washington Post is reporting that a plot has been uncovered to assassinate Americans. US embassy officials in Azerbaijan were allegedly alerted to the plot via a "tide of daily cable traffic" last November. The culprits? Why Iran, of course.
A probe ensued:
The plot had two strands, U.S. officials learned, one involving snipers with silencer-equipped rifles and the other a car bomb, apparently intended to kill embassy employees or members of their families.
The threat, many details of which were never made public, appeared to recede after Azerbaijani authorities rounded up nearly two dozen people in waves of arrests early this year. Precisely who ordered the hits, and why, was never conclusively determined. But U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now see the attempts as part of a broader campaign by Iran-linked operatives to kill foreign diplomats in at least seven countries over a span of 13 months. The targets have included two Saudi officials, a half-dozen Israelis and — in the Azerbaijan case — several Americans, the officials say.
In recent weeks, investigators working in four countries have amassed new evidence tying the disparate assassination attempts to one another and linking all of them to either Iran-backed Hezbollah militants or operatives based inside Iran, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern security officials.......Strikingly, the officials noted, the attempts halted abruptly in early spring, at a time when Iran began to shift its tone after weeks of bellicose anti-Western rhetoric and threats to shut down vital shipping lanes. In March, Iranian officials formally accepted a proposal to resume negotiations with six world powers on proposals to curb its nuclear program.
March? But Iran agreed to a U.N. inspector mission and to hold talks in Turkey with the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany on its nuclear program...two months earlier, on January 13th.
The authorities in Azerbaijan have arrested 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran, accusing them of links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The undated arrests were confirmed in a brief statement by the Azerbaijani national security ministry.
Azerbaijani TV reported last month that a plot to attack the Israeli embassy and a Jewish centre had been foiled.
At the time, Iran was also suspected of attacking Israeli targets in Thailand, India and Georgia..... according to Contact, a non-government Azerbaijani news website supported by the US National Endowment for Democracy, the arrests took place between late January and 20 February.
Contact said the detainees were being charged with treason and illegal possession of weapons.
Iran says Azerbaijanis have been helping Israeli assassinations in Iran.
Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was assassinated January 11th. If a news site supported by the US National Endowment for Democracy places the arrests between late January and 20 February, one might assume these current allegations are connected to that plot.
There's something eerily familiar in the playbook of thwarting Iranian plots to kill embassy officials. Let's not forget it was the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador ("it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script") that was used as the basis for arguing that Iran was willing to attack the US, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment:
"The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials -- probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei -- have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas. "
Which reminds me:
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who visited Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, this week. “Our relationship is very intense,” Mr. Lieberman said.
Car bomb attack in India Photo:Reuters
I'll bet it is. We have not forgotten about that airfield: Rumor has it that Israel and the Azeris struck a deal allowing Israel to use that country's air space and territory to stage an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
Interestingly, the graphic used to accompany today's report by both the Washington Post and Israel National News is from a car bomb attack in India-- also blamed on Iran. Why? It's worth scrutinizing: Who was behind the Delhi bombing?
We've got the car bombings, the plots to assassinate the ambassadors and probably scores of other crimes allegedly thwarted. And all of this came to a halt after Azerbaijan arrested the Iranians allegedly tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which proves.........Azerbaijan is on the team?