Home inContext Iranians Jailed for Terror Plot in Kenya

Iranians Jailed for Terror Plot in Kenya

Michael Johnson

A Kenyan court sentenced two Iranians to life in prison on Monday for planning attacks on Western targets. According to the prosecutor, Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi designed “acts intended to cause grievous harm” in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Kenyan authorities arrested Mohammed and Mousavi last year and charged them with carrying 33 pounds of RDX, a high-power military grade explosive. Even though the two men were seen driving past the British Embassy and a Jewish synagogue before their detention, prosecutors declined to reveal their specific targets. The Iranian embassy plans to assist in appealing their conviction and claims Israeli security officers interrogated Mohammed and Mousavi while in detention.

Sayed Mousavi (L) and Ahmad Mohammed are suspected to have been part of a network planning attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa. (Photo: AFP)

According to unnamed Kenyan officials, the two men belong to the Quds Force. A secret arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, the Quds leadership is believed hold close ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Last year, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet, announced it had assisted Kenyan officials in arresting “two senior (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard Corps operatives who were in the midst of preparing a terrorist attack on an Israeli target in Kenya.” The agency failed to specify whether Mohammed or Mousavi were the operatives mentioned.

This latest conviction in Kenya highlights a worrying trend, that of Iranian or Iranian-linked militant groups seeking to carry out terrorist attacks on civilian and diplomatic targets around the world. Israeli intelligence continues to look for plots against its interests abroad. Israeli officials link the Quds Force to an attempt to bomb the Israeli Embassies in New Delhi, India and Tbilisi, Georgia. In 2011, U.S. officials revealed an Iranian-backed plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington and bomb the Israeli Embassy there as well. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorists organization has committed terrorist attacks against Israelis in Bulgaria and Argentina. As Hezbollah and Iranian regional ally Syria continues to prosecute a bloody civil war, Shiite extremists seek to expand their reach farther afield.