Iran’s Supreme Leader has ordered the country’s Revolutionary Guards to intensify its campaign of terror attacks against the West and its allies in retaliation for supporting the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
According to Western intelligence officials, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the order to the elite Quds Force unit following a recent emergency meeting of Iran’s National Security Council in Tehran held to discuss a specially-commissioned report into the implications for Iran of the Assad regime’s overthrow.
Damascus is Iran’s most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.
The report, which was personally commissioned by Mr Khamenei, concluded that Iran’s national interests were being threatened by a combination of the U.N. sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program and the West’s continuing support for Syrian opposition groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.
Intelligence officials say the report concludes that Iran “cannot be passive” to the new threats posed to its national security, and warns that Western support for Syrian opposition groups was placing Iran’s “resistance alliance” in jeopardy, and could seriously disrupt Iran’s access to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
It advised that the Iranian regime should demonstrate to the West that there were “red lines” over what it would accept in Syria, and that a warning should be sent to “America, the Zionists, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that they cannot act with impunity in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”
Mr Khamenei responded by issuing a directive to Qassem Suleimani, the Quds Force commander, to intensify attacks against the West and its allies around the world.
The Quds Force has recently been implicated in a series of terror attacks against Western targets. Last year U.S. officials implicated the organization in a failed assassination attempt against the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington. It was also implicated in three bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats in February, planning to attack the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan while two Iranians were arrested in Kenya last month for possessing explosives.