Iranians Charged With Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador in U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder (DOJ press release here) has announced criminal charges against Iranian agents for plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. The plot was "conceived" in Iran by the Quds force, part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps." A DEA informant was involved. Here's the Complaint. Via ABC News:

The case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a US informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials. The Iranian-American thought he was dealing with a member of a Mexican drug organisation, according to documents.

Iran calls it a propaganda campaign. The FBI press release is here. [More...]

The criminal complaint alleges that, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Qods Force, have been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. In furtherance of this conspiracy, Arbabsiar allegedly met on a number of occasions in Mexico with a DEA confidential source (CS-1) who has posed as an associate of a violent international drug trafficking cartel. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar arranged to hire CS-1 and CS-1’s purported accomplices to murder the Ambassador, and Shakuri and other Iran-based co-conspirators were aware of and approved the plan. With Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar has allegedly caused approximately $100,000 to be wired into a bank account in the United States as a down payment to CS-1 for the anticipated killing of the Ambassador, which was to take place in the United States.

According to the criminal complaint, the IRCG is an arm of the Iranian military that is composed of a number of branches, one of which is the Qods Force. The Qods Force conducts sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq. In October 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Qods Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Well, based on what we know, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:22:32 PM EST
    and what we can believe, we have done our job.   Congratulations are in order! The next steps, if any, are up to the Saudis.  They have their own resources and are next door to Iran.  

    Why should the Saudis (2.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:56:02 PM EST

    be responsible for responding to a planned act of war on American soil?



    Act of war? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 08:15:14 PM EST
    Blowing up (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:06:37 AM EST

    an embassy in Washington DC is virtually certain to kill Americans.

    When a government does that, "act of war" is an apt description.


    Because the (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Zorba on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 08:18:31 PM EST
    plot was to kill the Saudi Ambassador.  So you think that the United States wouldn't be just a bit concerned, at the least, if not involved, if we were notified of a plot to kill an American Ambassador?

    For precedent took to (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 08:24:09 PM EST
    the Orlando Letelier case.  The former Chilean Ambassador to the US, and later, activist, assassinated by Pinochet government secret police in Washington, D.C.  I don't recall us bombing Chile, but then we were pals of Pinochet at the time.

    Experience teaches (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Peter G on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 08:49:49 PM EST
    that it is best not to jump to conclusions -- or believe all of what you read -- on the day that arrests of this kind are first announced.

    My take, (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 05:16:02 PM EST
    borne of extreme cynicism, is that the Obama administration is reviving its on-again-off-again bogiemanisation of Iran as, what was that delightful phrase, the "axis of evil".

    Since our civil liberties have been sacrificed, our homes foreclosed upon, our jobs evaporating and our coffers diminishing and the wars floundering, the only thing Obama has going for him is his image as a toughoncrimeandterrorism honcho.

    If this doesn't take, he can always try the North-Korean-branch-of -the-axis gambit. That one has been neglected of late and can surely be dusted off when needed.

    Can't wait for Nov 2012.

    You need to stop making stuff up; (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 10:29:12 PM EST
    lentinel has never, to my recollection suggested he would vote for "one of these guys," so maybe you should stop imputing to his comments - as you do on a regular basis to others - an intention that has not been expressed, just so you can mock it.

    But getting back to the real subject of lentinel's comment, it's not like we've never seen the bright, shiny distraction of [cue appropriately doom-like music] Terror On Our Shores, is it?

    But, hey - way to provide your own distraction by bringing in that cute little straw man you like to call, "Sowhattyagonnado Voteforoneoftheseguys."


    Curious (none / 0) (#2)
    by bocajeff on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:07:13 PM EST
    Wonder what the Secretary of State's thoughts are on this matter? It is an International Incident.

    My guess, (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:10:42 PM EST
    is that she'll happily say what they tell her to say.

    FBI press release: (none / 0) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:45:54 PM EST
    "....providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations."    The Taliban are not on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.  Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistani (TTP or Pakistani Taliban) are on the terrorist list, however, Afghanistan Taliban are not on the foreign terrorist list.

    And a bit about (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:10:06 PM EST
    the DEA informant who was approached by Arbabsiar:
    The complaint alleges this past spring that Arbabsiar approached the DEA informant, who he believed was associated with a well-known Mexican drug cartel with access to military-grade weapons and explosives and has a history of assassinations. Justice Department officials say Arbabsiar initially asked the informant about his knowledge of plastic explosives for a plot to blow up a Saudi embassy. But through subsequent meetings in Mexico over the past six months in which they spoke English, secretly recorded for U.S. authorities, Arbabsiar offered $1.5 million for the death of the ambassador. He eventually wired nearly $100,000 to an account number that the informant provided, authorities said.

    The DEA informant is no stranger to criminal activity -- the criminal complaint reveals he was charged with violating drug laws in the United States but the charges were dismissed when the informant cooperated with several drug investigations. The complaint said the informant has continued to provide reliable information that has led to numerous drug seizures and is paid for his work.

     (My bold)
    A trustworthy fellow, that informant.  No doubt. (Cough. Cough.)

    findings of fact? (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 08:02:34 PM EST
    The informant was likely wearing a wire at some point.  In any case, the $100,000 is an independently verifiable fact, whether or not one is theologically opposed to the idea of an informant.

    Right... (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:14:59 PM EST
    ... and the bad guys have no idea that we track large wire transfers.

    I am not going to comment as to what happened, but these were obviously some really dumb people.  Even if he wasn't an informant, that money would have been traced.

    Never mind the epicenter of the muslim religion, Mecca, is in Saudi.  OBL big beef was the US having a base on holy ground.

    It doesn't make sense, not that's not true, but right now the 'facts' are so far out there it's literally unbelievable.

    I will say the fact that I ran hasn't denied is odd.


    Reuters today... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:37:21 PM EST
    Iran rejects "vulgar" U.S. plot allegation

    U.S. allegations that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington are a "mischievous" attempt to fuel tension between Tehran and Riyadh, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.

    U.S. authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up a plot by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to kill the Saudi envoy, Adel al-Jubeir. One man was arrested last month while the other was believed to be in Iran.

    "These claims are vulgar ... It is a childish and amateur game," parliament speaker Ali Larijani told parliament in a speech broadcast live on state radio.

    "We believe that our neighbors in the region are very well aware that America is using this story to ruin our relationship with Saudi Arabia."

    Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi dismissed the allegations, saying the United States would have to apologize for its words.