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Blame Iran

Author: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
October 18, 2011
The Daily

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Ever since the discovery of an Iranian plot to use Mexican gangsters to kill the Saudi ambassador, apologists for Iran have been claiming two things: that such a scheme was too amateurish for the supposedly professional Iranian intelligence service, and that there is no way senior Iranian leaders would have approved such a high-risk operation. Neither excuse stands up to much scrutiny.

Iranian fingerprints are all over this operation. U.S. officials have revealed that $100,000 was sent from a bank account associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to finance the killing. Admittedly, the use of an Iranian-born ne'er-do-well living in Texas — a reported hard drinker and drug user who had failed at one business after another — exposed the Iranians to ridicule. But that is simply a reflection of the fact that the Quds Force, which is responsible for external operations against the Iranian revolution's enemies, does not have a professional proxy force akin to Hezbollah in the United States.

No doubt they would have preferred to turn to a hardened terrorist such as the late Imad Mughniyeh, for decades their man in Lebanon — but, lacking such an operative in the U.S., they had to make do with a former used-car salesman. It is actually not at all unusual for a foreign intelligence service to employ such a marginal character; upstanding members of the community don't usually carry out killings for hire.

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