Iran is attempting to inflict “revenge” against the United States over the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, according to the director of national intelligence.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served in then-President Donald Trump’s Cabinet when Soleimani was killed, has been a target of Iran, his successor Antony Blinken told Congress last month. Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, attributed Iran's efforts against current and former U.S. officials as an attempt to avenge Soleimani’s January 2020 death in Iraq, where he was killed in an American strike.
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“A fair amount of their motivation in this scenario we assess to be in relation to Soleimani as part of their sort of efforts for revenge, and is a particularly challenging area, I think, to deter them from action in this space," she said, noting that she could go into further detail in a classified setting.
Pompeo isn't the only former Trump official to be in Iran's crosshairs. Former national security adviser John Bolton has also been the target of supposed assassination plots, among others. A Feb. 14 State Department report to Congress revealed that it costs the Diplomatic Security Service $2 million per month to protect Pompeo.
While U.S. officials face threats from Iran, the Biden administration is seeking to reenter an agreement similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which intends to cap Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for a rollback of international sanctions and was later abandoned by the Trump administration.
One possible concession the U.S. has considered is removing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ terrorist designation, though the idea has received significant blowback, and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that he doesn't support such a move.
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The U.S. has also offered Iran sanctions relief, and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who testified with Haines, acknowledged that the incoming revenue “could increase targeting against our partners in the region as well as U.S. forces.”