Friday 22 December 2023

Iran Offered $200,000 To Assassinate British News Anchors: Report

 Iranian spies reportedly offered a human smuggler $200,000 to murder two Iranian-born journalists living in London as part of a campaign to scare Iranian dissidents scattered across the world.

ITV reported that Iran codenamed Sima Sabet and Fardad Farahzad — who are journalists at Iran International, a Persian news organization that targets Iranian viewers — the “bride and groom” in their assassination plot.

The spies planned to target Iran International’s studios in London with a car bomb, the report said. However, they ditched their plan after leaders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) decided that a knife attack at the target’s homes would be more effective because the studios had “many security guards.”

Iran wanted to use a criminal to carry out the attack who was already there; that way, Iran could have plausible deniability in the plot.

ITV spoke with the smuggler Iran hired for the plot, who later helped law enforcement foil the plot. When the television network learned of the plot last year, they moved their operations from the U.K. to the U.S.

The human smuggler told ITV that the two presenters were targeted because they were causing “a lot of humiliation in the media” against Iran.

He said that the Iranians wanted to make an example out of them by having them killed and hoped that their deaths would deter other dissidents from speaking out.

“I didn’t know there was a specific threat against me until now,” Fardad told ITV News. “Hearing it firsthand makes it more real. It’s shocking to see people who are casually talking about harming me.”


Sabet said, “The fact that they tried to kill me shows I did my job well, I was effective… I didn’t betray people and I stood with them, even with my life on the line.”

The report alleged that the commands for the operation — which were recorded and reviewed by ITV — were sent out by Muhammed Abd al-Razek Kanafani, who has close ties to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The human smuggler said that his ties to the IRGC started in 2016 after the organization contacted him to help them with shipping because they knew he had vast connections in the industry.

However, what the IRGC did not know was that the human smuggler was a double agent for a Western intelligence agency and that he was alerting them to the IRGC’s plans the entire time, the report said. The report said that it would not name the Western intelligence agency.

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