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Homeland Security

Washington charges Iranians in assassination plot

RIA Novosti

09:54 12/10/2011

NEW YORK, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. federal prosecutors in New York have charged two Iranians with plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

One of the alleged plotters, Manssor Arbabsiar, was arrested at JFK Airport in New York on September 29. He is charged with agreeing to pay $1.5 million to Mexican drug traffickers to bomb a restaurant in Washington while Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined there.

Arbabsiar allegedly made a down payment of $100,000 to the unnamed Mexican drug cartel member, who was actually a law enforcement informant, according to the charges.

Following his arrest, Arbabsiar confessed to U.S. prosecutors, saying he was recruited and funded by Gholam Shakuri, a senior officer in the Quds force, the division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for foreign operations, U.S. officials said. Shakuri remains at large.

Saudi Arabia denounced Iran over the plot and vowed to “take measures.”

“After this incident many in the kingdom will expect the kingdom to take measures, the least of which will be to pull the Saudi ambassador from Iran," government spokesman Abdullah Alshammari said.

U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Al-Jubeir to express his solidarity, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said news of the plot would further isolate Iran.

Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Julian Ventura told journalists his government had worked closely with the U.S. in uncovering the plot.

Iran flatly denies the charges, saying they were fabricated to divert U.S. public attention from domestic policy failures.

“I am writing to you to express our outrage regarding the allegations leveled by the United States officials against the Islamic Republic of Iran on the involvement of my country in an assassination plot targeting a foreign diplomat in Washington,” Iran’s UN ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, said in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“The Iranian nation seeks a world free from terrorism and considers the current US warmongering and propaganda machine against Iran as a threat not just against itself but to the peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region,” the letter says.



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