US Quietly Alerted Iran Prior to Devastating ISIS Suicide Bombings

The Wall Street Journal revealed that the United States covertly alerted Iran about two suicide bombings orchestrated by ISIS, resulting in nearly 100 casualties near the grave of the late IRGC general Qassem Soleimani earlier this month.

Intelligence provided to the US pinpointed the specific location and timing of the planned attack by ISIS-Khorasan, an affiliate of ISIS operating in Afghanistan. Despite receiving this information, Iran was unable to prevent the bombings during a commemoration event in the southeastern town of Kerman, marking the anniversary of Soleimani’s death. The attack targeted a gathering of people mourning the loss of Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike near the Baghdad airport in 2020, under the orders of former President Donald Trump.

A US official revealed that prior to the ISIS terrorist attack in Kerman, Iran, on January 3, 2024, the US government had privately informed Iran about the presence of a terrorist threat within its borders. The statement emphasized the adherence to a longstanding “duty to warn” policy, which spans different administrations and aims to caution governments about potential lethal threats. The intention behind such warnings is to prevent the loss of innocent lives in terrorist attacks.

Under the “duty to warn” directive, intelligence agencies are obligated to notify potential victims of impending attacks, irrespective of their citizenship, except in cases where the intended targets are identified as terrorists or criminals. The exception arises when issuing a warning could jeopardize the safety of US or allied government personnel, as well as compromise ongoing intelligence or military operations. This directive underscores the commitment to balancing the imperative of safeguarding lives with the necessity of preserving the security interests of the United States and its allies.

The United States Alerts for an Adversary

In this particular incident, Washington followed a familiar practice by notifying an adversary, which, while not uncommon, has supplied arms to various terrorist proxies. Among these proxies are Yemen’s Houthis, along with other organizations operating in Syria and Iraq. These groups have been responsible for at least 150 attacks on American facilities since mid-October.

US officials refrained from disclosing the specific channels through which they conveyed the warning to Iran, and no details about the information provided were shared. It remains unclear if this warning was the first of its kind.

According to a former US official, the primary motive behind alerting Iran was to prevent Tehran from responding to the attack in a manner that could escalate regional tensions and undermine US interests. Some officials also suggested that it might serve as a catalyst for discussions on other foreign policy matters.

Despite the warning, Iranian officials did not respond to the US, and the reasons for their lack of intervention in preventing the attack remain unclear, as commented by an American official.

The assault in Iran marked the most severe incident since the 1979 revolution.

ISIS-K emerged in Afghanistan in 2015, following the declaration of a caliphate by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria. After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, ISIS-K has strengthened, becoming one of the most dangerous groups in the region, surpassing even al Qaeda, with aspirations to target the West.

The director of the Iran program at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank, noted that the ISIS-K attack represented a setback for Tehran. The Iranian strategy involves training and equipping proxies in various Middle Eastern locations to avoid direct conflicts at home. As pointed out by the director, Alex Vatanka, the attack in Soleimani’s birthplace highlighted a vulnerability, leading to headlines suggesting that the Islamic Republic struggled to protect its homeland.

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