Erfan Fard

FBI’s Battle: Iranian MOIS’s Sleeper Cells in U.S.

FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) / Picture of FBI - free for any platforms

The FBI’s manhunt for Majid Dastjani Farahani, an Iranian intelligence operative allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate Trump administration officials, signals a grave escalation in the ongoing tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This search, initiated in response to the targeted killing of IRGC’s Terrorist commander Qasem Soleimani in a 2020 drone strike, underscores a chilling narrative of retribution that risks destabilizing not just diplomatic relations but the very fabric of international peace and security.

The Islamic Republic’s sleeper cells within the U.S. have been a significant concern for the FBI.  Iran’s regime has aimed to target individuals close to Trump, including Brian Hook, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Gina Haspel, and Trump himself, as retaliation for Soleimani’s death. It’s uncertain whether Iran utilizes terrorist proxy forces or directly commands operations on U.S. soil, but the FBI closely monitors charities, religious centers, schools, & medical centers linked to Tehran. 

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At the heart of this issue lies the concept of the Fatwa, often issued by Islamic scholars or mullahs, which can range from daily ethical guidance to controversial calls for violence and terrorism. While Fatwas are traditionally non-binding, their impact is profound, particularly when issued by figures of authority within uneducated or radical segments of the muslim community. History bears witness to the tragic consequences of such irrational edicts, which have justified violence under the guise of religious mandate, leading to the loss of countless innocent lives.

This menacing scenario is further compounded by the existence of Iranian-backed “sleeper cells” within the United States. The U.S. Intelligence Community, particularly under the Biden administration’s Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center, acknowledges the significant threat posed by these covert operatives. Their presence on American soil, armed with directives from Tehran, embodies a form of asymmetric warfare that Iran might employ, circumventing conventional military confrontation while still inflicting substantial harm.

Drawing from my extensive field research in Middle East, the strategic patience and long-term planning of the Iranian regime become evident. Through my meetings in 2020 and 2021 with FBI, it became clear that the potential for these cells to activate and carry out attacks presents a credible threat to U.S. national security. This reality is not merely speculative; it is a clear and present danger that necessitates a robust and nuanced response from U.S. counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies.

My research since 2013, mapping the Iranian regime’s transnational terrorist network, including its expansion into Latin America, highlights the strategic depth of Tehran’s terror apparatus. The presence of Iranian agents and terrorist proxies, capable of launching large-scale attacks on American soil and across the Western Hemisphere, represents a direct threat to U.S. national security. The ideological motivations driving these cells, rooted in the radical agenda of the Islamic Republic, aim to undermine U.S. security and instigate conflict from within.

The MOIS have established a formidable presence in the U.S., indicating the global reach of their terror networks. Their operations, however, extend beyond the Middle East, complicating the U.S. counterterrorism strategy. The upcoming 2024 elections present an opportune moment for Iran to create chaos, potentially targeting political figures or activating sleeper cells to disrupt the electoral process. The necessity for vigilance and proactive measures cannot be overstated; the threat of Iranian-backed terror on U.S. soil is a stark reminder of the broader geopolitical challenges facing the international community.

The collection of sensitive information within the Iranian community poses significant challenges, further complicated by the active presence of pro-regime lobbies in the U.S. These entities, often operating under the guise of diplomatic or cultural exchange, serve Tehran’s interests, complicating efforts to dismantle the regime’s influence networks. My continuous dialogue and initial meetings with the FBI, from initial meetings in Birmingham (January 2020), Alabama, to subsequent engagements in Washington DC (May 2021) and Miami, Florida, has focused on elucidating the multifaceted threat posed by Iranian sleeper cells.

 I’ve persistently addressed the presence of the Iranian regime’s sleeper cells within the U.S. In a recent appeal through Persian media in CA, I proudly called upon Iranian Americans to aid FBI. in thwarting the Iran’s plans to disrupt U.S. security, especially before Election 2024.  In other words, despite the complexities involved, the call for Iranian Americans to assist the FBI in countering Iran’s disruptive plans is a testament to the collaborative approach required to address this challenge. The mullahs’ fatwas, despite their intent to assassinate or disrupt, are ultimately doomed to fail against a united and informed community response.

Radio Hamrah: FBI vs. Iran’s Spy (Interview in Persian)

The nuanced and growing threat of Iran to U.S. National Security cannot be overstated. The presence of sleeper cells, managed by Tehran’s operatives, within the U.S. underscores a pressing need for comprehensive counterterrorism strategies. These strategies must not only focus on border security but also on understanding and dismantling the internal networks that facilitate Iran’s terror activities. The resilience of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with the international community, remains the bulwark against the nefarious intentions of the Iranian terrorist regime.

In conclusion, the ongoing efforts to map and neutralize the Iranian regime’s transnational terrorist network underscore a critical juncture in U.S.-Iran relations. The potential activation of sleeper cells within the United States, targeting political figures or disrupting the electoral process, represents a clear and present danger to national security. The strategic patience and ideological zeal driving these plots necessitate a vigilant, informed, and multifaceted response from the U.S. Intelligence Community and its allies. As the international community grapples with the broader implications of Iran’s actions, the importance of a proactive and comprehensive counterterrorism posture has never been more evident. The challenge ahead is not only to thwart immediate threats but to ensure the long-term stability and security of the international order against the backdrop of Iran’s continued provocations and terror activities.

In addition to the FBI, during my meetings with some Congressional representatives’ offices, like that of Rep. Mike Levin, I have attempted to highlight to them the significance of the fact that the Tehran regime does not fear carrying out any form of terrorist threat or conducting terrorist operations on American soil. Its sole intention is to disrupt the national security of the United States and label it as a victory for the Islamic world. The Islamic Republic regime thrives on propaganda, a method also employed by the Communists. Threatening terrorism and carrying out assassinations are among the tactics of the criminal mullah regime that should not be overlooked.

FBI, JTTF / Picture of FBI – Free for any platforms
About the Author
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, Counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and Ethnic conflicts in MENA. \He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA), and is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. Follow him in this twitter account @EQFARD
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