Two Iranian nationals arrested in Kenya in June with 33 pounds of explosives are alleged to have targeted American, Israeli, British, and Saudi interests in the African country, according to an exclusive AP report quoting Kenyan officials. The news comes following the imposition of strict sanctions by the EU and America that appear — finally — to be severely impacting the Iranian people and economy. In response, Iranians are ratcheting up tension in the Persian Gulf by carrying out military exercises where they promise to test fire several dozen missiles, using replicas of foreign army bases as targets. The message the mullahs are sending is clear; if America attacks, they can strike one of several US military bases in the region.
The sanctions are relatively stiff to be sure. The Europeans have banned the importation of all Iranian oil and forbidden nations belonging to the EU from insuring oil tankers carrying Iranian crude. The United States, for its part, slapped severe currency and banking restrictions on Iran that have reportedly caused confusion and worry among the Iranian people.
Meanwhile, the Iranians continue to enrich uranium while stringing along the P5+1 (Russia, China, Britain, Germany, France, and the US) nations who continue fruitless negotiations with Tehran about halting their uranium enrichment activities. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Knesset, “Iran is showing contempt for the whole world, and plans to enrich beyond 20%,” — a reference to a level of enrichment for which there is little commercial value and would be far easier to continue on to bomb grade levels of enrichment of 90%. Low-level technical talks with the Iranian regime are to resume on Tuesday in Istanbul with little hope that a breakthrough of any kind can be achieved.
Some experts believe that the arrest of the Iranians in Kenya and the targeting of US and Western interests is a sign that Iran will fight the battle over its nuclear program by resorting to terrorism. The AP report contains some disturbing information. Kenyan officials say that the Iranians belonged to the Quds Force — the elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards tasked with assassination and terror attacks outside of Iranian territory. The Iranians were arrested in the coastal city of Mombassa where there are several Israeli-owned hotels. Kenyan officials told AP that “the plot appears to fit into a global pattern of attacks or attempted attacks by Iranian agents, mostly against Israeli interests.”
Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, Britain’s security service, in a rare public statement, said last week that “in parallel with rising concern about Iran’s nuclear intentions, we have seen in recent months a series of attempted terrorist plots against Israeli interests in India, Azerbaijan and elsewhere.” He added that “a return to state-sponsored terrorism by Iran or its associates, such as Hezbollah, cannot be ruled out as pressure on the Iranian leadership increases.” In short, the more the West pushes, the more desperate Iran becomes.
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