Iranian Influence Operations Threaten U.S. National Security
In the wake of Hamas’s horrifying attack on Israel on October 7, the terrorist group is once again seeking to shape the information environment to create international pressure that compels Israel to stop its operations before achieving its objectives. Reliance on influence operations is straight out of the playbook of Hamas’s chief benefactor: Iran. Recent reports from Semafor and Iran International of a high-level Iranian influence campaign implicating current and former U.S. government officials, if accurate, represent just one of the myriad examples of systemic Iranian efforts over the last decade to subvert the American policymaking process. JINSA has cataloged Iranian operations in the United States that:
- provide access to sympathetic Iran analysts and government officials to incentivize favorable coverage and policies;
- help fund academic collaborations to spread Iranian talking points and extract sensitive research;
- threaten and carry out violent attacks against U.S.-based regime critics, including activists, dissidents, and former government officials, to prevent them from advocating for or enacting policies counter to the regime’s objectives.
To address Iran’s foreign influence campaigns, U.S. legislators and government officials should increase public awareness of Iranian influence operations, conduct investigations into such operations, and restrict federal funds to universities that hire former high-ranking regime officials or that receive Iranian-funded grants.
Jacob Olidort – Director of Research
Ari Cicurel – Assistant Director of Foreign Policy
Yoni Tobin – Policy Analyst