Iran’s horrific terror plot to strike in the heart of Washington, D.C., shouldn’t be a surprise. It fits the mold of a regime filled with unbounded hatred for the United States and our Middle Eastern allies, whether Israel or Saudi Arabia.
Carrying out a major terror attack in another country’s capital city is nothing new for Iran, which has long used violence as a foreign policy tool. In 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was destroyed in a terror bombing, and, two years later, the AMIA Jewish community center in that city was leveled by a car bomb.
Iranian fingerprints were all over those two attacks in Argentina. Interpol is currently seeking Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s defense minister, along with four other Iranian officials in connection with the AMIA bombing.
Earlier in his career, Vahidi headed the Al Quds unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the group that Attorney General Eric Holder identified as responsible for managing the operatives—one of them a U.S. citizen—who were planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, and to hit embassies in Washington.
If successful, this would have been the first incident of Iranian-sanctioned terror on U.S. soil. But such an act runs true to form, as Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. In addition to the Revolutionary Guards, Iran has long been a primary supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. In fact, Hezbollah was implicated as Iran’s partner in the1994 AMIA bombing.
When and where Iran may try its terrorism next is unknown, though the near-certainty of further attempts demands the kind of vigilance that led U.S. law enforcement agencies to foil the Washington plot. The determination of the Iranian regime to push the terror envelope is clear, and grows increasingly ominous as Iran moves closer to building nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver them. Just imagine Iranian agents carrying a portable nuclear device.
Kenneth Bandler is the American Jewish Committee’s director of media relations.