A pair of recent and daring bomb attacks, which killed one Iranian nuclear scientist and injured another one, has prompted Iran to issue a new threat to America and Israel: it will kill American generals. This is no idle threat.
Majid Shahriari, a quantum physicist involved in Iran’s nuclear project, was apparently working on dealing with the Stuxnet virus at Iranian nuclear plants. He died in the attack. The wounded scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, a senior Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics scientist, is on a list of people suspected of having links to secret nuclear and ballistic missile activities. A 2007 U.N. sanctions resolution put a travel ban and asset freeze on those listed, including Abbasi.
Although the Iranian leadership has strongly criticized America and Israel for what they called the assassination of its nuclear scientists and warned of retaliation, the harshest threat came just days ago from, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the Commander of Basij forces.
The official website of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps published a statement from Naghdi emphasizing that they plan to take revenge against “this murderous act of America” and its agents saying: “… It’s been years since our nation has been awakened and has awakened the oppressed people of the world and soon these tyrants will burn for their cruelty…” He continues, “…The filthy Americans and the Zionists should not think that by killing our scientists they can divert us from our path of Jihad … our nation loves martyrdom and their efforts will be fruitless…”
Mohammad Reza Naghdi, was born in Iraq and moved to Iran after the Iranian Revolution joining the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. He later joined the Quds Forces involved in international terrorism. In October of 2009, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei, appointed Brigadier General Naghdi as commander of the Basij paramilitary forces.
Naghdi goes further with specifics regarding the retaliation, “...We will mark the hanging sites of the American and Zionist generals and we will identify which hanging was in retaliation for the blood of our great martyr Shahriari…”
It is clear that the order for the revenge has been given by the Iranian leadership, which then will be carried out by the Quds forces. This warning by Naghdi needs to be taken seriously by American officials.
We should not forget the Karbala compound attack on January 20, 2007. The Guards had promised retaliation for the capture of five of its Quds force members in Irbil, Iraq, on January 11 by U.S. Forces. Just nine days later five U.S. soldiers were abducted and killed in the sophisticated attack by men wearing U.S.-style uniforms, according to U.S. military reports. In Iran, the Guards then sent a clear message calling this “five for five.”
Another time the Guards vowed revenge was after the attack that killed six Revolutionary Guards commanders and 37 others in Sistan-Baluchistan province. The Guards blamed the U.S. and Britain for the suicide bombing and promised a strong and speedy response. A week later on October 25, 2009, two suicide car bombs exploded within the green zone in Baghdad killing 55 people and injuring at least 721people, making it the deadliest attack in Iraq since August of 2007.
Today the U.S. military should be on high alert, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan and should make it clear to Iran and its Revolutionary Guards that any attack against U.S. personnel will not go unanswered. It must be clear that any attack against Americans will be considered an attack on the United States of America and will be dealt with as such.
This is part of a wider threat to U.S. security posed by the radicals leading Iran. We must not be fooled about their intentions. And the time to confront this threat is now.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reason. “A Time to Betray,” his book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was published by Simon & Schuster in April.