Iran Braces For Renewed Offensive By ISIS And The CIA

Last week’s terrorist attacks in Tehran dramatically highlighted the IS threat to Iran. But more worrying for Iran is a renewed offensive by the CIA.
By |
Be Sociable, Share!
    • Google+
    Mideast Iran Armed Forces

    Members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard march during an annual military parade marking the anniversary of outset of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran, Iran.

    Last Wednesday’s twin terrorist attacks in Tehran shattered a more than three- decades-long sense of security in the Iranian capital.

    The last time there were major terrorist incidents in Tehran was way back in the early 1980s during the turbulent immediate post-revolutionary period.

    The attacks by so-called Islamic State (IS) were followed by intense counter-terror activity. In the latest reported incident, Iranian security forces shot dead four IS-aligned terrorists in the southern Hormozgan province.

    Five years ago, it was revealed that Mossad officers had tried to recruit members of the Jundallah terrorist group by masquerading as CIA officers

    These operations underscore the scale of the terror threat and appear to validate the contents of IS’s first Farsi-language video which was released less than three months ago. In the video, IS made a direct appeal to disaffected Iranian Sunnis to rise up against the Iranian authorities by staging terrorist attacks.

    The risk of repeated terror attacks is a clear worry for the Iranian authorities, not least because terrorism undermines one of the key sources of Iranian prestige, namely the ability to provide homeland security in a turbulent region. By creating a perception of instability, the Islamic State group is waging a smart psychological warfare campaign against the Iranian establishment.

    Related: The Sordid History Of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran

    But in real security terms, Iran is faced with a potentially bigger threat, this time emanating from America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

    Earlier this month it was revealed that the newly appointed head of Iran operations at the CIA, Michael D’Andrea (dubbed “Ayatollah Mike”) is expected to go on the offensive against the Islamic Republic.

    Managing the twin threats of IS-inspired terrorism and CIA espionage – and crucially, the potential intersection of these threats in the context of escalating regional tensions – will be the ultimate test of the Iranian security establishment’s skill and resolve.


    CIA: a credible threat?

    News of the CIA’s renewed offensive against Iran comes in the wake of the agency’s broader failures, not least a major setback in China where the CIA reportedly lost more than a dozen local spies to Chinese counter-intelligence.

    The CIA has a long and chequered history in Iran. The agency was at the forefront of overthrowing Iran’s first democratically elected government in 1953, inflicting enormous and long-lasting trauma on the collective Iranian psyche. The events of 1953 and its repercussions are the main source of Iranian anti-Americanism and continue to inform Iranian attitudes to the US.

    U.S. President Harry Truman, left, and Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, right, stand together on Oct. 23, 1951. The coup d'état that led to the democratically elected Mossadegh's ouster two years later was orchestrated by the U.S. CIA, declassified documents confirm. (Photo/Abbie Rowe via Wikimedia Commons)

    U.S. President Harry Truman, left, and Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh Oct. 23, 1951.. two years before a CIA orchestrated coup led to the ouster of the democratically elected Mossadegh. (Photo: Abbie Rowe/Wikimedia)

    But more recently, the CIA is more associated with failure than success in Iran. In fact, something very similar to its latest Chinese fiasco happened to the agency’s Iran network back in the mid and late 1980s.

    Following the shock of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the CIA set about rebuilding its local network, but this time in a far more hostile and challenging environment.

    In the late 1980s, it was revealed that Iranian counter-intelligence had discovered the full extent of the CIA network as early as 1985 and had fooled the agency into thinking some of the network was still intact

    In the late 1980s, it was revealed that Iranian counter-intelligence had discovered the full extent of the CIA network as early as 1985 and had fooled the agency into thinking some of the network was still intact, either by informally managing some of the spies (i.e. not arresting or prosecuting them) or by turning them into double agents. Following the disclosure of this story in 1989, a few of the most egregious spies were executed.

    It is against this backdrop that the new CIA Iran operations chief – renowned for his aggressive approach – will be operating. Traditional espionage, in the form of local spies handled by foreign intelligence officers, simply doesn’t work in Iran’s exceptionally tough counter-intelligence environment. CIA and other Western spies are often caught within months of becoming fully operational.

    This is a reality that is all too clear to the CIA and allied intelligence services. In light of this, “Ayatollah Mike” is likely to focus less on traditional espionage and more on subversive activities, an area where the CIA has achieved qualified successes. The CIA, working jointly with Israeli experts, was behind the “Stuxnet” cyber attack on the Iranian nuclear establishment.

    Furthermore, the Iranian authorities have long suspected a distant CIA hand in the Israeli-sponsored assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists between 2009 and 2012. There are fears that the assassination campaign may restart in earnest, especially if the Trump administration gives the green light to the Israelis with a view to destabilising the nuclear accord.


    ISIS and CIA: two sides of the same coin?

    In the immediate aftermath of the twin terror attacks in Iran, the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) released a statement drawing a connection between Saudi Arabia and the attacks.

    And then on Monday, the commander of the IRGC, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, went even further by directly implicating the Saudis in the attacks.

    There is some context for these claims, as only a few weeks ago Saudi Arabia’s defence minister threatened to take the “battle” inside Iran. The Iranian defence minister hit back by threatening to attack everywhere in Saudi Arabia (save Mecca and Medina) should the kingdom commit an “ignorant” act.

    It is in this febrile environment that the CIA will be conducting its aggressive campaign against Iran. The risks of misunderstanding and dramatic escalation cannot be overestimated, especially if Iranian investigators come to genuinely believe or at least suspect a connection between IS-inspired attacks, Saudi-funded terrorism and CIA-led espionage and subversion.

    It is worth noting the Israeli connection again, as five years ago, it was revealed that Mossad officers had tried to recruit members of the Jundallah terrorist group (which was conducting attacks in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province) by masquerading as CIA officers.

    While the CIA’s war on Iran, and the Iranian response, will be fought mostly in the shadows – with much of it kept well hidden from the public – repeated terror attacks, be they IS-inspired or conducted by local groups funded or directed by the Saudis, may well force an open confrontation.

    Mahan Abedin is an analyst of Iranian politics. He is the director of the research group Dysart Consulting.  He writes for news outlets including Middle East Eye, where this article first appeared. 


    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

    Be Sociable, Share!


    Print This Story Print This Story
    You Might Also Like  
    This entry was posted in Foreign Affairs, Insights and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
    • Pingback: Iran Braces For Renewed Offensive By ISIS And The CIA | True News Global()

    • TeeJae

      “Managing the twin threats of IS-inspired terrorism and CIA espionage…”

      Twin threats? More like one-and-the-same threat.

    • Brian Ghilliotti

      The two regions of Iran ISIS will be directed to hit will be Khuzestan Province, a demographically mixed region inside Iran at the tip of the Gulf (right next to Kuwait), and Hormozgan province, on the other side of the Straits of Hormuz opposite of UAE. There was already a firefight with ISIS inside Hormozgan Province. This will make oil shipping much more dangerous.

      -Brian Ghilliotti

    • ties

      very true the CIA’s controlled Muslim terrorists… first sent the CIA terrorists stationed in Saudi then sent American and Europe troops ,,to over throw countries….. Bush started it ,,,first we needed 9/11

    • Pingback: Rex Tillerson Admits US Working Towards Regime Change In Iran()

    • Pingback: Iran Braces For Renewed Offensive By ISIS And The CIA — MintPress News – mustsayreal()

    • tapatio


      1) NO evidence, of any sort, has EVER been produced of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The production of industrial and medical isotopes also produces trace amounts of “weapons grade” material – quantities far too small for weapons production. NPT Commission inspectors have never found more than these trace amounts.

      2) Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, has been screaming about an “Iranian Bomb in a year or two” FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. So far, he has accomplished nothing other than looking like a fool and using the AIPAC/Rothschild-Bilderberg cartel members to blackmail the United States Government.

      3) Iran has NOT ATTACKED ANY COUNTRY IN 250 YEARS. Iran does provide support to Hamas (the ELECTED government of Gaza), Hezbollah (formed by the legitimate Lebanese government to resist an Israeli invasion of that country), Syria (the LEGITIMATE government of Syria fighting against the FOREIGN TERRORISTS attacking that country).

      4) Israel can not attack Iran independently without the use of Israel’s nuclear weapons. Israel has no transport for troops or equipment. If Israel used conventional missiles, Iran is a HUGE target, very difficult to attack. Israel is a tiny target – EASY to attack and Iran’s conventional missile force is equal to Israel’s. If Israel used nuclear weapons, the entire world would turn on Israel and the US could not protect it’s Jewish masters.

      5) If the US were to attack Iran, a 2011 Pentagon report stated that war with Iran would cost three to five times the US casualties of the Vietnam war and would destroy the US economy. That is IF Russia and China didn’t aid Iran. In that case, either the US would be defeated conventionally or destroyed in a nuclear war.

      6) There are hundreds of thousands of Christians, Buddhists and followers of other religions in Iran. Even almost ten thousand Jews (hated by Israel because they are a constant black eye for the Jews’ state). These people all follow their own religions in COMPLETE FREEDOM. The ONLY restriction on their practice is that they may not preach their faith in public. Conversion back and forth between religions, is not uncommon.

      7) Homosxxuality is as common in the Middle East, Including Iran, as in the rest of the world. The primary difference in Muslim countries is that open sxxual displays are strongly frowned on in their culture – especially so for gays. It’s the same in Nebraska or Mississippi. Only, the disapproval is official for Muslims. It’s a punishable offence for a married hetro couple to kiss in public. Gays who demand what they see as “Gay Rights” on TV are in grave danger.

      8) In Iran there is almost no homelessness, No Iranian child goes to bed hungry. Iranian health care is excellent and FREE. Iranian education is excellent and FREE. Severe poverty almost does not exist in Iran. SAD THAT AMERICANS CAN’T SAY THE SAME ABOUT THE UNITED STATES.

    • tapatio

      Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”

      A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996)

      “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right”


      Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000)

      “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor (9/11 – PERFECTION). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.” (p 63)



      Richard perle


      Paul Wolfowitz
      William Kristol
      Alvin Bernstein
      Eliot Cohen
      David Epstein
      Donald Kagan
      Fred Kagan
      Robert Kagan
      Robert Killebrew
      Steve Rosen
      Gary Schmitt
      Abram Shulsky
      Dov Zakheim


      • Eddied

        you are an idiot…everything you have said is a lie…

        • tapatio

          You poor baby. Didums just hate what I said? Well, bunky, LOOK IT UP, excrement-for-brains. The everything in that comment is WELL DOCUMENTED.

        • TeeJae

          You’re not a very smart troll, are you? All of what tapatio “said” were quotes from various sources. You’d do well to actually read through them before dismissing them outright.

          • Eddied

            During the 1980’s Iran went to war with Iraq and the Ayatollah got over 1 Million Iranian boys killed before he stopped the war…Oh but I guess tapatio forgot that one…