The Corner

Iran-Backed D.C. Terror Plot Disrupted

UPDATED

Two men have been charged in New York for “their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States,” according to a DOJ release (bold mine).

One of the pair, 56-year-old Iranian and naturalized U.S. citizen Manssor Arbabsiar, was arrested at JFK airport, while the other, a member of the Iranian Qods Force (“a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad”) remains at large.

The details of the plot (codenamed Operation Red Coalition) read like the dust jacket from a Tom Clancy novel. In May, an Iranian-American from Texas reportedly approached a DEA informant about the prospect of enlisting a Mexican drug cartel in assassinations. From the DOJ release:

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.

More here.

One interesting thing to note that will no doubt be fodder for G.W.A.T. as law-enforcement types on the Left: Arbabsiar was Mirandized several hours after his arrest, reportedly waived his right to an attorney, and confessed to his part in the plot during post-Miranda questioning.

Likewise, I bet this statement from an assistant U.S. attorney will agitate both Left and Right –

“As alleged, these defendants were part of a well-funded and pernicious plot that had, as its first priority, the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, without care or concern for the mass casualties that would result from their planned attack,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Today’s charges should make crystal clear that we will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground.” 

– considering it seems to treat the fact of an Iranian terror plot in the nation’s capital as little more than a discourtesy (“take your fight outside, boys”), while making the straight-faced claim that targeted strikes staged against foreign citizens in third-party countries are unacceptable (except when you’re using drones?)

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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