Iran, an international sponsor of terrorism, has announced sanctions against a hawkish Washington think tank, threatening that any actions taken against it by “security apparatuses” will be “considered legitimate” by Tehran.
The ominous warning to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its chief executive officer Mark Dubowitz was carried in state-controlled media, which cited a law titled “Countering America’s Human Rights Violation and Adventurous and Terrorist Actions” that was passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2017.
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.
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.
Since its theocratic regime was established in 1979, Iran has been behind numerous terrorist activities throughout the world, often through its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. In 2011, its plan to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. at the Cafe Milano restaurant in Washington’s Georgetown district was thwarted and one of the plotters sentenced to 25 years.