Hadi Matar, the man that was arrested for the nearly lethal assault on prominent author Salman Rushdie, has allegedly been in contact with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) prior to the stabbing.
News organization VICE reported on Sunday, quoting a Middle Eastern intelligence official, that Matar was in contact with people directly involved with or adjacent to the Quds Force, the IRGC’s external militia, which the US has classified as a foreign terrorist entity just like IRGC, which is designated terrorist organization.
The 24-year-old Matar had been in direct contact with members of IRGC on social media, but security officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the communication.
The official, who would not speak on the record due to diplomatic reasons, added that the extent of the involvement is yet to be established and confirmed if it was a series of directions in picking a target or a directly supported assassination attempt.
The Mideast intelligence officer underscored that it was clear since the beginning that the United States-born Matar did not come up with Rushdie as a target on his own since the writer would definitely not be a clear target compared to all the other, contemporary enemies, designated by the Tehran regime.
Sources noted that even an avid consumer of Iranian propaganda would have difficulty finding references to Rushdie as an important target.
Even one European counter-terrorism official from NATO noted that the stabbing attack against Rushdie had the indications of a guided attack of a terrorist that was motivated by an intelligence service without being provided direct material since there’s no evidence about Iranian officials’ direct involvement in orchestrating the attack.
Although it is not clear if the possible involvement of IRGC in the plot to assassinate Rushdie would impede in any way the nuclear talks between Tehran and the world powers in Vienna, it could most probably influence countries to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.