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FBI hunts for suspected Iranian assassin targeting Trump-era officials

• https://www.semafor.com, Jay Solomon

The U.S. government is intensifying a manhunt for an Iranian intelligence operative who the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes has been plotting to assassinate current and former American officials, including one-time Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The FBI's Miami field office on Friday issued a public alert seeking information on Majid Dastjani Farahani, a suspected member of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, who the Bureau alleged has been recruiting "individuals for operations in the U.S., to include lethal targeting of current/former USG officials."

It's unclear why the FBI issued its warning in Florida. But the U.S. government warned in a Most Wanted notice issued Friday that Farahani speaks Spanish and frequently moves between Iran and Venezuela. The U.S.'s Department of Justice convicted an alleged Iranian operative in 2011 of working with Mexican drug cartels to attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, while he dined at a Georgetown restaurant. In January, the DoJ indicted an Iranian gang leader for allegedly working with members of the Hells Angels to kill Iranian dissidents living in Maryland.

The Iranian government has repeatedly vowed over the past four years to avenge the 2020 death of Major General Qasem Soleimani – a commander of Iran's elite Qods Force – whom the Trump administration assassinated in Baghdad using a drone strike on his convoy. The DoJ indicted members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) in 2022 for allegedly plotting to murder Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, who served in the White House in the months leading up to Soleimani's death.

U.S. officials told Semafor they believe Pompeo and Trump's special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, are also on Tehran's hit list. The U.S. government is currently providing both men with around-the-clock security due to the severity of the threat.

The FBI said Friday that Farahani, 42, was recruiting individuals "as revenge" for Soleimani's death and to conduct "surveillance activities focused on religious sites, businesses, and other facilities in the United States." The Treasury Department sanctioned Farahani in December.


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