Iran Threatens Action Against Conservative U.S. Think Tank
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has set off the Iranian theocracy and is now subject to a law that gives the Iranian government security services the right to take action.
The FDD has been particularly critical of Iran over the past few years in opposing the nuclear deal with Tehran and urging the administration to increase the pressure on Iran by ratcheting up sanctions.
Iran's foreign ministry said the move had been made because of "economic terrorism" by the FDD, which has been sharply critical of the Iran nuclear deal and has advocated harsh American sanctions against the theocratic regime.
"Accordingly, taking any actions by the judicial and security apparatuses against the FDD and their Iranian and non-Iranian accomplices will be considered legitimate as their actions are against the Iran’s national security and the interests of Iranian people and government," the state-run Mehr news agency wrote.
FDD's CEO Mark Dubowitz is taking the threat seriously.
The think tank addressed the news in a statement, and its leader Mark Dubowitz told the Washington Examiner, "The regime has a history of targeted assassinations on European soil, places in the Gulf, Latin America, Asia ... We're treating it as a targets list, not a sanctions list."
"I do think we have a sufficient profile with the U.S. administration, with Congress, and other allies that if the Iranians went after us, this would be a significant escalatory step," he continued. "But, I also don't want to say that that necessarily will deter their behavior. They tried to assassinate a Saudi ambassador in Cafe Milano right in the heart of Washington, D.C."
Dubowitz said the group would not be backing down, however.
"It just incentivizes us to redouble our efforts in researching and investigating the malign and destructive activities of Iran," he said.
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies does not have the highest profile among conservative think tanks in Washington, although it has published Long War Journal since 2001 -- an internationally recognized publication about the war on terror.
Iran may simply be trying to intimidate its opponents. But it should be noted that Iran is fully capable of carrying out terrorist operations in the U.S. through its proxy terror militia Hezbollah. The Lebanese militia has several cells in Central and South America so it wouldn't be hard to imagine them crossing the porous United States border to commit terrorist acts.