Tuesday, October 11, 2011

U.S. Accuses Iranians of Plotting to Kill Saudi Envoy

Via NYTimes -

Federal authorities foiled a plot by men linked to the Iranian government to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States and to bomb a Saudi embassy, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a news conference on Tuesday.

Mr. Holder said the plot began with a meeting in Mexico in May, “the first of a series that would result in an international conspiracy by elements of the Iranian government” to pay $1.5 million to murder the ambassador on United States soil.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington called the plot “a despicable violation of international norms.”

The men accused of plotting the attacks were Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, both originally from Iran, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.

Mr. Holder said the men were connected to the secretive Quds Force, a division of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that has carried out operations in other countries. He said that money in support of the plot was transferred through a bank in New York, but that the men had not yet obtained explosives.

The Justice Department said in a statement that Mr. Shakuri, a member of the Quds force, remained at large. Mr. Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested on Sept. 29. There is “no basis to believe that any other co-conspirators are present in the U.S.,” Mr. Holder said.

“In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” he said.

A senior administration official said on Tuesday that the Treasury Department planned to announce new sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is already the target of heavy sanctions for its role in overseeing Iran’s nuclear program. The new sanctions will single out five senior leaders of the Guards Corps and the Quds force, the official said.


FBI: Two Men Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States


US Treasury: Treasury Sanctions Five Individuals Tied to Iranian Plot to Assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of five individuals, including four senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) officers connected to a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir, while he was in the United States and to carry out follow-on attacks against other countries’ interests inside the United States and in another country. As part of today’s action, Treasury also designated the individual responsible for arranging the assassination plot on behalf of the IRGC-QF.

Designated today pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF were: Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports who acted on behalf of the IRGC-QF to pursue the failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador; IRGC-QF commander Qasem Soleimani; Hamed Abdollahi, a senior IRGC-QF official who coordinated aspects of the plot and oversaw the other Qods Force officials directly responsible for coordinating and planning this operation; Abdul Reza Shahlai, an IRGC-QF official who coordinated this operation; and Ali Gholam Shakuri, an IRGC-QF official and deputy to Shahlai, who met with Arbabsiar on several occasions to discuss the assassination and other planned attacks.

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