The recent arrest of two Iranian spies who were running espionage operations on American soil is “just the tip of the iceberg,” a U.S. lawmaker is warning, in reference to Tehran’s overall U.S.-based intelligence efforts, and could eventually lead to terrorist attacks.
After the arrest of two individuals who were alleged to be spying on Jewish and Israeli facilities in California, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said that it’s likely Iran has stationed several agents around the U.S. to conduct espionage.
Though the arrests shocked some, Roskam said he wasn’t surprised. And he said the arrests have lead U.S. counterintelligence officials to solid evidence of Iran’s effort to sow political discourse in the U.S. and around the world.
He also partially blamed the previous administration for providing Iran with the wherewithal to conduct global ops.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Roskam told the Free Beacon. “This is not a surprise and this is a result of the Iran regime getting financial support from the Obama administration in the Iran deal.”
He also said the lack of a firm U.S. response to nefarious Iranian actions during the previous administration as well as from U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere have also emboldened the Iranians.
Iran is “acting with impunity, that deal emboldened them,” Roskam said. “This is an unmasking of that. Unfortunately, it’s all too predictable. Give a malevolent regime huge amounts of cash with no restraining influence and this is what happens.”
The two individuals who were arrested have been identified as Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, an Iranian citizen and California resident.
The news report said the men were formally charged by the Trump administration “with allegedly acting on behalf of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran by conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States, and collecting identifying information about American citizens and U.S. nationals who are members of the group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK),” an Iranian opposition group that promotes regime change in the Islamic Republic, the Justice Department announced.
A separate U.S. official told the news site Iran has been running aÂ “vast espionage and information operations in the United States” practically unmolested.
One source, speaking only on background, told theÂ Free Beacon,Â “The Trump administration has been warning since day one that some of the windfall Iran got from the nuclear deal has been going into malign cyber operations.”
Other political leaders and intelligence officials voiced similar concern about Iran’s espionage operations on U.S. soil, the report said, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
“What’s new here is a level of aggression against the United States and an impunity with which they’re operating,” noted Roskam.
Analysis: Politics aside, former Secretary of State John Kerry even once admitted that at least some of the money paid to Iran that had been frozen in the U.S. as part of the nuclear deal would be used for terrorism and espionage, and that appears to be the case.
The fact that Iran is even running spy operations in the U.S. isn’t that remarkable, either.
What is noteworthy, however, is that the Iranians would be brazen enough to consider violently targeting official Jewish and Israeli installations and facilities inside the U.S. Short of targeting American government and civilian infrastructure, we can think of nothing that would enrage the current administration more.
President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are reported to have a stellar relationship — the best between U.S. and Israeli leaders in years. That was manifested by Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as three prior presidents promised but never delivered. It was also manifested in the president’s decision to cut $200 million in funding for the Palestinian Authority recently, due to its participation in terrorist activities.
Were Iran to carry out a major act of terrorism on U.S. soil against either American or Israeli targets, we believe the Trump administration would respond with a devastating military counterattack, which would then lead to the next war in the Middle East — one that would draw in Israel as well, since Iran would no doubt attempt to strike Israel from Iranian, Lebanese, and Syrian soil, with its own forces and those of its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah.