The U.S. intelligence community believes that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America and its allies, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Tuesday morning in an open hearing.
In prepared testimony given to the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper stated than an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States shows a shift in Tehran's strategy towards a willingness to plot and conduct attacks within the U.S.
Director Clapper said, according to the Washington Post, that Iran's disrupted alleged assassination plot:
“shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
Clapper added that “We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”
The spy chief's concerns come amidst increased saber rattling from Iran with regard to the Strait of Hormuz, and tightening U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing the Iranian nuclear program.
Clapper’s testimony regarding the threat from Iran was delivered as part of the U.S. intelligence community’s annual overview of the primary national security challenges facing the United States. His testimony also singled out cyber-related threats, and the weakened but persistent threat Al Qaeda and its affiliates pose to the U.S.