Iran-Linked Assassins Targeted US Officials
Investigators identify 13-month assassination effort
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 28, 2012 2:07 PM CDT
A missile is displayed during a military parade commemorating National Army Day in front of the mausoleum of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, shown in the picture, left, outside Tehran,...   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

(Newser) – A string of assassination plots against diplomats across several countries amounted to a coordinated campaign, with each case linked to Iran. US officials were among those targeted, American and Middle Eastern authorities say: Would-be assassins linked to Iran plotted to kill diplomats at the US Embassy in Azerbaijan. Investigators have tied every case in the 13-month campaign to Iran-supported Hezbollah members or militants working from inside Iran, the Washington Post reports.

Azerbaijan arrested almost two dozen people earlier this year following the emergence of the threats, which seem to have quieted just before Iran agreed to re-enter six-nation nuclear talks, a Western diplomat says. Details of the assassination efforts remain unclear, but intercepted messages reveal a link to Balagardash Dashdev, an Azerbaijani national associated with Iran-based militants. Dashdev moved weapons and money into Azerbaijan in a "jumble of overlapping plans" that targeted both Azerbaijani Jews and specific diplomats. "They had names," says a State department official. Iran denies the plot, calling it the product of "Iranophobia and Islamophobia." Click through for more details.

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