The head of national intelligence believes Iran is aiming to exact “revenge” on the U.S. for the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet at the time of Soleimani’s death, was a target of Iran, according to his successor Antony Blinken, who testified before Congress last month. According to National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Iran’s attempts against current and past U.S. officials are an attempt to avenge Soleimani’s murder in Iraq in January 2020, when he was killed in an American attack.
Haines stated, “A fair amount of their motivation in this scenario we assess to be in relation to Soleimani as part of their sort of efforts for revenge, and is a particularly challenging area, I think, to deter them from action in this space.” However, she said she could not go into further detail due to the classified nature of the situation.
Pompeo isn’t the only former Trump official who has been targeted by Iran. John Bolton, the former national security advisor, has also been the subject of assassination plots. Pompeo’s protection costs the Diplomatic Security Service $2 million per month, according to a February 14 State Department report to Congress.
While U.S. officials face threats from Iran, the Biden administration is attempting to re-enter a deal similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which aimed to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions and was eventually scrapped by the Trump administration.
The removal of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ terrorist label is one possible concession the U.S. has examined, though the proposal has drawn strong backlash, with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley telling Congress last month that he does not favor such a step.
The United States has also granted Iran sanctions relief and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, admitted, along with Haines, that the incoming funds “could increase targeting against our partners in the region as well as U.S. forces.”