The United States Department of Justice revealed on Tuesday that in later 2019 and early 2020, two large caches of Iranian weapons had been seized in the Arabian Sea as they were being shipped to Yemen. Among the largest forfeiture of Iranian weapons to date were 171 surface-to-air missiles and eight anti-tank missiles.
In the complaint that led to the forfeiture of that oil, the US Justice Department noted that its sale would have benefited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an entity designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
Around the same time, over a million barrels of Iranian petroleum, due to be delivered to Venezuela, was also seized. The confiscated oil was later re-sold, and the profits were reportedly added to a fund to compensate victims of terrorism around the world.
From the US Marine barracks bombing in 1983 in Lebanon, to the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the list of victims from acts of terrorism is extensive. In 2020, a U.S. federal judge in New York ruled that the Iranian regime was liable for damages in relation to the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001 as they harbored Al Qaeda operatives prior to the attack, providing them with ‘critical training and support’.
In 2018, the list of victims almost grew longer due to the failed terrorist plot of the Iranian Resistance rally near Paris which would have claimed the lives of lawmakers and dignitaries from across the world, along with many activists and Iranian expatriates.
Under the command of high-ranking Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, three Iranian operatives were planning to attend the rally with a device laden with 500 grams of the highly-explosive TATP, which had been transported across Europe from Tehran by Assadi himself. Belgian authorities managed to intercept the operatives before they could cross the French border and seize the device, destroying it in a controlled detonation, which unfortunately wounded an officer despite him being outside of the detonation zone.
That fact is a testament to the destructive power of the explosives, which experts say would have killed hundreds or perhaps thousands of the approximately 100,000 people in attendance at the Free Iran rally.
During the trial of the four men involved in the bomb plot, testimonies regarding the potential damage that the bomb could have caused if the plot had been followed through ensured that the men all received lengthy prison sentences. In recent weeks, the three operatives launched an appeal to reduce their sentences while Assadi is still standing by his defense of diplomatic immunity.
The news of the weapons smuggling further adds to the seriousness of potential future terrorist threats from Iran and highlights the need to enforce strong measures to confront these threats.
The orders for an attack on the gathering had come from high in the Iranian regime’s leadership. This was affirmed by Belgian prosecutors, in statements that seemed to hint at the need for accountability extending beyond the trial at hand.
Through extensive research and intelligence sharing, the NCRI has identified that the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and former president Hassan Rouhani both have prominent roles in the regime’s Supreme National Security Council which oversees all of Iran’s foreign activities, and terrorist operations.
With a network of operatives laying low across Europe ready to strike when called upon, if Western policymakers are not more forthcoming with implementing stringent measures to keep the Iranian regime in check, the regime will likely be emboldened to carry out future attacks without the fear of consequences.