Washington--Authorities foiled a plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday at a press conference.
A criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in New York Tuesday naming Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri as the two alleged plotters, both with ties to Iran. Arbabsiar has been jailed in New York since September and Shakuri remains at large.
The complaint alleges that Iran helped conceive, sponsor and direct the plot. Holder called the alleged plot a "flagrant violation of U.S. and international law" and said the U.S. will hold Iran accountable.
Last spring, Arbabsiar met a number of times with a DEA source in Mexico posing as a member of a sophisticated and violent international drug-trafficking cartel, the complaint alleges. It was during these meetings that Arbabsiar allegedly offered the agent money to assassinate the ambassador. Arbabsiar allegedly wired $100,000 into a U.S. bank account in August as a down payment for the hit.
Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Qods Force, a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, allegedly approved the money transfer.
Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the alleged plot. Shakuri is believed to be in Iran.
The two planned to use an explosive device to assassinate the ambassador, according to the criminal complaint. The alleged plot would have maimed others and damaged nearby structures in the surrounding area.
FBI Director Robert Mueller says many lives could have been lost in the plot to kill the ambassador with bombs in the U.S.
Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds an Iranian passport, allegedly expressed disregard for the collateral damage that the attacks in Washington would have caused.
The two are charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism and other charges. (Read more.)
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Shia vs. Sunni Jihad Comes to Washington
Violence between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims goes back to Muhammad's companions, who slaughtered each other over their disagreements. But I'm sure we'll hear plenty about how this sort of violence has nothing to do with Islam.