Iran might soon attempt a ''revenge'' plot against the United States over the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, according to Avril Haines, the U.S. director of national intelligence.
Haines warned that Iran's pursuit of high-ranking U.S. officials — namely former national security adviser John Bolton (a Donald Trump-era hire), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (another Trump-era selection) and Pompeo's successor, Antony Blinken (tapped by President Joe Biden) — could serve as possible vengeance for Soleimani's death in Iraq in January 2020, when the Trump administration ordered a decisive strike of the Iranian commander.
''A fair amount of their motivation, in this scenario, we assess to be in relation to Soleimani as part of their sort of efforts for revenge, and is a particularly challenging area, I think, to deter them from action in this space,'' said Haines, who reportedly declined to say more in a nonclassified setting.
A Feb. 14 State Department report to Congress revealed that it costs the Diplomatic Security Service $2 million per month to protect Pompeo. At this time, it's unknown how much Bolton or Blinken requires for comprehensive security efforts.
Even with Iran's ''revenge'' threat, the Biden administration still remains open to reentering an agreement similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known in some circles as the Iran nuclear deal, which intended to limit Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for a rollback of worldwide sanctions.
The U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia and United Kingdom entered into the JCPOA agreement back then, establishing nuclear-related provisions for Iran to follow.
The plan was subsequently endorsed by the U.N, Security Council Resolution and verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Various reports, however, had Iran receiving more than $150 billion in cash from the JCPOA collective, as a means of complying with the nuclear terms.
The Trump administration terminated what it called a ''defective'' agreement in May 2018, following through on a campaign promise made in the 2016 election cycle.
Among the concessions reportedly being mulled by current U.S. officials: Removing Iran from the State Department's ''Sponsors of Terrorism'' listing, which includes just three other nations — Cuba, North Korea and Syria.
But when addressing congressional leaders last month, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he does not support rescinding Iran's ''terror'' status.
The U.S. has also offered Iran sanctions relief.
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, reportedly acknowledged that the incoming revenue ''could increase targeting against our partners in the region as well as U.S. forces.''
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