Members of Iran’s Quds Force were recently instructed by the country’s most authoritative figure, Ayatollah Khamenei, to increase their attacks on western targets in retaliation for what Iran believes is a direct effort to help the Syrian opposition topple Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, according to senior western intelligence officials.
The directive was given at a meeting of Iran’s National Security Council in Tehran, which was held to review a report commissioned to examine the geo-political ramifications for Iran if Assad were to lose power in Syria.
Khamenei himself is said to have commissioned the report, according to western intelligence officials, and in response to international sanctions against the Iranian regime, along with western support for Syrian rebels, Khamenei has decided that his country “cannot be passive”.
According to one of the intelligence sources who spoke with The Telegraph in Britain, Khamenei believes he must show “America, the Zionists, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that they cannot act with impunity in Syria and elsewhere in the region”
The order given by Khamenei to Iran’s Quds Force follows a number of Iranian linked terrorist attacks in recent months, including a foiled plot to kill a Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington D.C., and multiple bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats in February. A unit of the Quds Force, known as “Unit 400″, is reportedly behind many of the overseas attacks being carried out under Iranian directives.
“Unit 400 seems to have been involved in all the recent Iranian terrorist operations,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “The Iranian regime now seems determined to retaliate for what they regard as the West’s attempts to influence the outcome of the Syrian unrest.”
Nearly a week ago, dozens of Iranian men were captured by Syrian rebels. Many of them are suspected to have been sent to Syria by the Iranian government to help Bashar al-Assad continue his crackdown, and officials in Tehran have demanded their safe return.