Middle East

Iran ‘mapping’ locations of Jewish diaspora for ‘hit squads to target’ in event of attack by Israel

Iran has been “mapping” the locations of the Jewish diaspora as part of laying the groundwork for a potential assassination campaign if Israel attacks the country’s nuclear facilities, according to a woman who has gained access to high-level members of the ruling regime.

Catherine Perez-Shakdam, who has previously been granted an audience with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and also met with Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s hardline president, told The Jewish Chronicle that it had been revealed at a meeting in Tehran that hit squads could be deployed if Israel ever attacked Iran.

Ms Perez-Shakdam said she gained the access to the meeting via the late-Nader Talebzadeh, a filmmaker with ties to Iran’s government. In 2019, the US Treasury sanctioned Mr Talebzadeh for his connection to the New Horizon Organisation.

It said New Horizon organised international conferences that supported the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The US designates the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

It was at a separate closed event Mr Talebzadeh organised in Iran where Ms Perez-Shakdam said she was told of the plan “to identify all the prominent NGOs run by Jews, who was doing what in each business sector, the important rabbis.”

“They wanted to figure out their influence and where they lived with their families in order to target them,” she said

Ms Perez-Shakdam, an analyst who has contributed to pro-Iranian websites and the Russian state-backed TV channel, RT, said the participants were unaware she is Jewish.

Last November, MI5’s director general, Ken McCallum said in his annual threat updated that Iran had “ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime” and that the intelligence service had worked to “disrupt” at least 10 such threats since January 2022. He did not give any details of the circumstances around those threats.

The UK government has been considering proscribing the IRGC a terrorist organisation.


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