Will Iran Strike New York City On 9/11 Scale?
New York City: It's the center of the U.S. financial system and for many people, the capital of the world. That's why the Big Apple remains a top terror target.
From the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to 9/11, and more recently, the Times Square bomber, terrorists have repeatedly targeted Manhattan.
Now Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror, is reportedly taking aim.
A recent warning about the threat posed by Iran and its terror proxy, Hezbollah, came from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"We know Hezbollah operatives are here," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told a House committee on homeland security in March.
"The question is whether these Hezbollah operatives have the capacity to carry out attacks on the U.S. homeland and how quickly they can become fully operational," he said.
King said hundreds of operatives are here and that some Iranian diplomats stationed at the United Nations are much more than they appear.
"Several of their comrades in the U.N. mission in New York were sent back to Iran after the NYPD caught them photographing the city's rail systems in the years since 9/11," he said.
According to one NYPD official, there have been at least five other instances of what he called "hostile reconnaissance" against New York City by Iranian agents.
"They see that attacking New York or threatening the facilities in New York will destabilize the financial markets and automatically harm the U.S. economy," former CIA double agent Reza Kahlili told CBN News.
Kahlili was once a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. His book, A Time to Betray, lays out Iran's potential plots against America.
"Many cells are present here. And they have their eyes set on our power plants, water supply, food distribution, bridges, tunnels -- anything that could create fear and also disrupt the daily life of Americans," he warned.
One Iranian naval commander said recently that Iran's forces can move within three miles of New York City if they so choose.
Kahlili said an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities could be the trigger.
"They believe that an attack on Syria or Iran would be sufficient to trigger a response, which would be terrorist attacks on the world stage against U.S. and Israeli interests, an attack on Israel and attacks on U.S. soil," Kahlili said.
Iran shocked many analysts with last year's plot to attack foreign diplomats in Washington, D.C. A nuclear-armed Iranian regime would likely become even bolder.
"You can tell that Iran gets more aggressive the closer they get toward a nuclear weapon," Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for RadicalIslam.org, told CBN News.
"Rather than international pressure making them restrain themselves, it's actually making them act more and more aggressively," he said.
Iran and Hezbollah already have an extensive network in Latin America, which they could use to strike at the United States. And according to Kahlili, Iranian agents also have a presence in some American mosques.