March 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian Citizen Planning to Attack Israeli Arrested in Peru

March 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian Citizen Planning to Attack Israeli Arrested in Peru

Latest Developments

Police in Peru arrested an Iranian citizen on March 7 suspected of planning to murder an Israeli in the South American country. At least two Peruvian citizens are also implicated in the plot. Peru’s interior ministry said the Iranian, 56-year-old Majid Azizi, is a member of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — the first alleged Quds Force member arrested on Peruvian soil.

Peruvian authorities arrested Azizi after receiving “sensitive” information about the arrival of an Iranian national in Lima, Peruvian police chief Oscar Arriola said on March 8. “We had to act quickly because today [the Iranian] was set to return to Iran after forming a terrorist cell to wipe out an Israeli national.” Authorities originally suspected the men were planning to attack an Israeli businessman at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Lima but have since ruled out that theory.

Expert Analysis

“Iran’s terror apparatus is truly global. Although the regime has shifted in some theaters toward using criminal syndicates to target dissidents while using proxies to engage in deniable attacks in others, the Quds Force — the nerve cell for the regime’s external operations — has not hung up its hat. This recently revealed plot in Peru proves that Tehran’s long arm is still active and intent on making inroads into Latin America. And to those who take solace in these and other plots being fortunately discovered and thwarted, we must not forget that quantity has a quality of its own. The regime is unlikely to cease or even suspend such operations so long as it does not pay a price for them.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

“The arrest of Majid Azizi raises the possibility that multiple cells reside in other countries in South America and potentially highlights their modus operandi. Whereas previously, Iran relied on Quds Force operatives or Hezbollah agents, more recently, Iran has been relying on local criminals. If it is confirmed that the Peruvian nationals implicated along with Azizi are local criminals, then the arrest of Majid Azizi in Peru bucks this trend, as Iran is increasingly leveraging connections with transnational organized crime to put terror attacks in motion.” — Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD Senior Fellow

Plot Thwarted in Brazil

Brazilian authorities detained two suspected agents of Iran-backed Hezbollah on November 8, 2023, who were allegedly plotting to carry out terror attacks against Jewish targets in Brazil. The arrests occurred as part of a joint operation with Israel’s Mossad. Brazilian police arrested a third member of the suspected Hezbollah cell on November 13. As part of the same investigation, Brazil’s Federal Police also conducted raids on 11 locations in São Paulo, Brasilia, and the northern state of Minas Gerais.

Iran in Latin America

In June 2023, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi paid a five-day visit to Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, accompanied by the Iranian ministers of foreign affairs, defense, petroleum, health, and culture and Islamic guidance. In Venezuela, Raisi signed over a dozen agreements designed to deepen cooperation between Tehran and Caracas. He said that Iran and Venezuela share a “strategic relationship” based on “common interests” and “common enemies” — an apparent reference to the United States. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was previously in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in February 2023, and Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji visited Caracas in May 2022.

Hezbollah’s Terror Threat In Latin America,” by Emanuele Ottolenghi

Brazilian Authorities Disrupt Hezbollah Plot,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran’s Raisi Embarks on Five-Day Tour of Latin American Countries,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran in Latin America Iran-backed Terrorism