Growing Evidence of Iranian Terrorist Sleeper Cells in the US and Western Europe

Iran and Hezbollah’s Pre-Operational Modus Operandi in the West

Received 27 Mar 2020, Accepted 05 Apr 2020, Published online: 13 May 2020

Two intelligence operatives have warned of growing evidence that the Iranian regime and the Hezbollah terrorist group have been able to establish dormant and inactive (sleeper) cells in the United States and Western Europe that could be activated to carry out “terrorist operations.” This is in response to the killing of Qassem Suleimani by drone strike at Baghdad airport.

In their published research paper, the two researchers explained that there is growing evidence that operations may be conducted in the United States or against US interests abroad.

Based on this warning, Tehran may be more inclined to authorize retaliatory operations inside the United States.

Based on the authors’ analysis of Iran and Hezbollah’s past operations, foiled plots,
the recent U.S. arrests of Hezbollah operatives and their personal experience leading
Iran and Hezbollah intelligence investigations for NYPD, seven principles24 underpin
the preoperational modus operandi of Iran and Hezbollah:

1. Intelligence gathering and surveillance activities;
2. Plausible diplomatic, business, education and other covers to conceal operational activities;
3. Infiltration of Iranian dissident groups;
4. Logistical planning for possible future attacks;
5. Preparing “human target packages” to enable assassinating dissidents and
adversaries;
6. Counter-intelligence tradecraft, and operational security
7. Recruiting operatives with dual nationalities and Western passports from the
Shia diaspora.

Each of these are outlined in the report.

The two researchers provided seven indicators for the preparation of such maps by the Iranian regime and the Hezbollah terrorist group before engaging in possible “terrorist” operations, including surveillance, logistics design, camouflage operations to cover up the agents, and influence as well as recruitment based on certain goals.

According to the two American researchers, the implementation of this revenge operation has enough accuracy to convey the necessary message, but it will not be so radical and extreme that it threatens the Kian regime in Iran , and therefore resembles the response to the assassination. Hezbollah leaders, such as Abbas Mousavi, the former secretary general of Hezbollah, or Emad Mughniyeh, will have a high-ranking military official.

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