How Iran Abuses Identity Repudiation to Enable Terrorist Attacks

An interview with counter-terrorism expert Haim Tomer shines a light on the identity methods used by Iran to shed responsibility for terrorist activity.

…the modus operandi of Iran could be characterized by… “deniability.” From February 2008, the first time that they were exposed in Azerbaijan to an attempt to carry out an attack against the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan, the Iranians acted together with other nationalities, normally Lebanese, and, in many other cases, like in Cyprus, they recruited Lebanese that are residing outside of Iran and Lebanon carrying passports such as Swedish, Turkish and Pakistani. In that case, they have what we call a kind of a “deniability,” the capability to say “this is not our people.” […] They are recruiting people all over the world, Shiites from Pakistan, from Turkey, from Azerbaijan, from Sweden, and even from Germany. If you look back over the last 20 years, you’ll see that they normally recruit Shiites Muslims that have double identities.

Repudiation is a somewhat dated term in security circles, yet it seems increasingly applicable again. Non-repudiation is the study of how to enable multiple identities without losing accountability, or auditability, in the process.

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