Saudi Arabia has examined the possibility of assassinating senior Iranian officials and to that end recruited the help of an Israeli national with intelligence background, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
According to journalists Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and David D. Kirkpatrick, Saudi intelligence officials with close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held discussions in March 2017 with a group of businessmen on the possibility of assassinating senior officials in the Iranian regime and military, including the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani.
The meetings between the Saudis and the businessmen were organized by George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, who brought in an Israeli national living in the US, Joel Zamel, who has "deep ties" to Israel's intelligence and security agencies.
The two also enlisted the help of Erik Prince, the former head of the private security firm Blackwater, who later served as a Trump campaign advisor.
According to the Times, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the recently ousted deputy head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate, ran point for bin Salman in the meetings with the businessmen.
Inside sources told the Times that the Saudis inquired whether the businessmen could carry out the assassinations themselves. After consulting with their lawyers, the businessmen rejected the Saudi request.
Nader did tell the Saudis that he knew a company based in London that might be willing to take on the assassinations.
In addition, the Saudis also planned a $2 billion project to suffocate the Iranian in an effort to make Tehran abandon its nuclear program.
According to the report, the Saudis sought the approval of the Trump administration, as the project would have had major international repercussions on the international. Nader reportedly met with Trump administration officials several times to discuss the plan.