Iran funds pro-Gaza, anti-Israel protests in US: Director of National Intelligence

"We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters."  

On Tuesday, a top American intelligence official warned that "actors tied to Iran’s government" are providing funding for anti-Israel protests across the US as part of an "increasingly aggressive" campaign. 

Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, issued a statement warning of "concerning Iranian activity" and that the Iranian government, headed by newly elected President Masoud Pezeshkian, would "opportunistically take advantage" of anti-Israel protests.

She stated, "Iran is becoming increasingly aggressive in their foreign influence efforts, seeking to stoke discord and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions, as we have seen them do in the past, including in prior election cycles. They continue to adapt their cyber and influence activities, using social media platforms and issuing threats."

Haines added, "We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters."  

"Furthermore, Americans who are being targeted by this Iranian campaign may not be aware that they are interacting with or receiving support from a foreign government," Haines continued, noting that Americans should "remain vigilant as they engage online with accounts and actors they do not personally know."

Haines stated that Iran "will continue to rely on their intelligence services in these efforts, as well as Iran-based online influencers, to promote their narratives."

Since the Palestinian terror attacks that raped, tortured, and murdered 1,200 Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 and kidnapped over 250 more, anti-Israel protests have erupted on the streets of cities across the US and on college campuses. Iran is a sponsor of the terrorist group Hamas and helped plan the attacks.

In November, Bill Roggio, senior fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies co-author of a report on Iran-backed militias, issued a statement that the "root" of the problem the U.S. faces in the Middle East is "an Iranian regime that has nothing but animosity towards the United States."

Yet, the Biden administration has unfrozen assets and lifted sanctions on Iran, the number one state sponsor of terror worldwide. Roggio added, "[A]nd until we start hearing that from the administration, there will continue to be confusion.”

He noted, "The American public doesn't understand these types of wars because the American government is willing to do things like negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran to treat Iran like it is a responsible actor in the international community."
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