America, Iran and Red Lines

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Joby Warrick sheds some light on Washington's thinking regarding the Iranian terror plot:

While acknowledging they did not have conclusive proof, the U.S. officials said they were convinced that Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameinei were at least aware of the plot’s general outlines.

“We do not think it was a rogue operation, in any way,” a second official said. But he added: “We don’t have specific knowledge that Suleimani knew about specific” details of the plot.

The officials said American investigators theorized that the operatives’ sloppiness reflected Iran’s inexperience in working in North America, where even the globally networked Quds Force lacks connections and contacts. But they said the oddly brazen nature of the plot may also may have reflected the naivete of the clique of hard-line clerics that has come to dominate Iran’s leadership in recent years.

“These leaders have no Western experience, and they have a great misunderstanding of the United States,” the second official said. “They don’t understand where the red lines are.”

But with four hits in as many years on Iran's nuclear scientists, I dare say the misunderstanding is mutual.

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