Foiled Iran terror plot
The terrorist plot to kill the Saudi ambassador has raised some eyebrows in Washington. Not that anyone thinks Iran couldn't mount such a terror operation if they wanted to; but rather the questions are swirling around the suspects asking whether they are who and what they say they are.
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.
It's the money that makes this plot ring true and convinces me that this was a serious plot by serious men.
U.S. officials said Arbabsiar met twice in July with the DEA informant in the northern Mexico city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and negotiated a $1.5 million payment for the assassination of the Saudi ambassador. As a down payment, officials said Arbabsiar wired two payments of $49,960 on Aug. 1 and Aug. 9 to an FBI undercover bank account after he had returned to Iran.
These weren't some amateurs out for a lark. You don't give someone $100 grand unless you're deadly serious.
This being the start of the political cycle, questions about "convenient timing" arise. I don't blame anyone for asking those questions but I think in this case, the preponderance of the evidence points to a genuine, and frightening plot by the Iranians.
What we're going to do about it is anyone's guess.