Terror cells have been placed on high alert to attack targets in the United States and Europe should Iran’s nuclear facilities be attacked, a source in the Revolutionary Guards says.
The terror cells in the U.S. are being coordinated by Quds Force personnel operating out of the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, the source says. Because Iran and the U.S. have no diplomatic relations, Iran’s Interests Section operates under the umbrella of the Pakistani embassy.
“These cells work out of safe houses where ammunition and explosives are stored, each with an operational commander who reports back to Iran,” the source says.
Analysts in Iran believe Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, has provided two choices to the West: either accept a nuclear Iran or face all-out retaliation if its nuclear facilities are attacked.
According to the source, who has served in the Guards’ intelligence apparatus, Iranian leaders have long prepared for an all-out confrontation with the West. The Guards’ commander, Hussein Babai, has openly stated that after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, Quds Force and Hezbollah terror cells began expanding in cities across Europe and America.
In an interview last October, Rep Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, stated he was convinced that Iranian diplomats out of New York and Washington, D.C., were involved with terrorist forces in Iran, attempting to spy on America.
The source says these cells are divided into two groups: one is operational and awaits the order to attack; the other gathers information, monitoring such sensitive sites as power plants, water and food distribution, refineries, railroads and others along with information on officials of the host countries and their activities. This information, transferred to Iran, is being used by the Quds Force command in Tehran “to select targets for maximum effect.”
In testimony before a U.S. House panel in March, the director of the New York Police Department’s intelligence analysis unit, Mitchell Silber, revealed that the Iranian diplomats had carried out “hostile reconnaissance” of sites in New York as many as six times, alarming police officials that the city might be targeted for terrorist attack.
The operatives enter the Western countries through several means, but some use fake identities and claim to be part of religious minorities under persecution in Iran. According to the source, several hundred have entered the U.S. as members of the Baha’i faith whose lives supposedly are threatened by the Islamic regime.
Others enter from Mexico where the cells are supported with cash from an illegal drug operation. Businesses run by Hezbollah, mosques and Islamic foundations provide another source of financing for these cells in America. Other assets, the source indicates, are of Mexican and Latin American origin, which the Guards’ intelligence apparatus has longed worked to train and recruit.
Hassan Abassi, a former Guard commander and current strategist, has stated that the Guards have identified more than 800 sensitive sites in the U.S. to be attacked, and “if America dares to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Iran, it should have no doubt that we will destabilize America.”
Last week the Guards warned that any retaliation to any threat by Israel or the West will be much more devastating than the recent terror attacks on Israeli interests worldwide.
The cells within the U.S. and Europe are now on high alert, according to the source. Targets have been chosen and are prioritized: First, attack energy resources (power, gas and oil facilities); second, create fear by attacking high-population areas; last, assassinate officials of the host country who have supported war with Iran.
If Iran is attacked by America or if America supports Israel in an attack, then these assets are to retaliate. However, the source says, their actions will be sequential unless the attack goes beyond the nuclear sites with the aim of overthrowing the Islamic regime, in which case there is to be an all-out response.
The source indicates an all-out response will include attacks on other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, after Israel has been targeted by hundreds, if not thousands, of missiles.
The most ominous message from the source is that an all-out response will not be based on a defense doctrine but rather on the belief that total chaos will hasten the return of last Islamic messiah for the final defeat of the infidels. It believes that the coming will take place from the city of Qum in Iran.
Meanwhile, the General Command of Iran’s Armed Forces has warned it will provide a crushing response to any threat by America and Israel that will jeopardize their “disgraceful existence.”
The Arab Spring is “a result of the message of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its path, which is based on true Islam,” the command’s statement, issued days ago, said. “This message has not only helped with the spread of the Islamic Awakening in the region but has spread through protests in Europe and the U.S. (the Occupy Wall Street movement).
“Soon with the help of Allah, in this most significant juncture in human history, the evil and despotic powers will be defeated and a new world order will take place, led by the Islamic republic. … This leadership today has created the biggest danger yet to the fake and illegal Zionist regime and has sent shock waves to the infidels’ empire with its center at the White House.”
The United States would not be safe from retaliation if Iran is attacked by Washington, the Iran newspaper quoted a senior Revolutionary Guards commander on Tuesday as saying.
“In the face of any attack, we will have a crushing response. In that case, we will not only act in the boundaries of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, no place in America will be safe from our attacks,” Massoud Jazayeri was quoted as saying by the daily.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, “A Time to Betray.” He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).