Iran’s Killing Machine: Political Assassinations by the Islamic Regime

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It was recently revealed that the Iranian regime was planning to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa. Tehran denied any such plans, but a brief look at the Islamic regime’s history shows that Iran not only has the will but also the means to conduct assassinations on foreign soil.

Assassinations and terrorism have been the regime’s modus operandi both at home and abroad ever since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. Four institutions in Iran are instrumental to the decision-making, organizing, and execution of subversive operations, especially those conducted on foreign soil: the Office of the Supreme Leader, the Supreme Council of National Security, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Ministry of Intelligence.

It is above all with the assistance of its diplomatic corps that Iran puts its subversive plans into action. Terrorist attacks and assassinations have been conducted around the world by Iranian operatives or proxies in close conjunction with Iranian diplomats and Iranian embassies. Many of the targets have been Israeli and Saudi diplomats.

The recent allegation that the Iranian regime is targeting the US ambassador to South Africa is credible, as such an operation is entirely consistent with Iranian tactics. As Iranian operatives and intelligence officers are highly active in South Africa, it is no surprise that the US embassy in Pretoria has been targeted.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Specialist publicationBegin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Mideast Security and Policy Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 25
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences


  • Iran
  • Terrorism
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • IRGC
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
  • Ministry of Intelligence
  • MOI
  • Supreme National Council for Security
  • Assassination


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