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U.S. disrupts Iranian-backed plot to kill Saudi ambassador

By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2011

An elaborate Iranian-backed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States was disrupted by FBI and DEA agents, officials said Tuesday.

Members of an elite Iranian security force planned to detonate a bomb at a busy Washington, D.C. restaurant, killing Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. and possibly over one hundred bystanders, according to court documents filed in the Southern District of New York.....

The plot was infiltrated by a Drug Enforcement Agency informant posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel. The plotters planned to pay a member of the Zetas cartel $1.5 million to carry out the attack....An Iranian-American, Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, has been arrested in the case. An Iran-based member of the secret Quds Force unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gholam Shakuri, was also charged, but is not in custody.....

Read the full article at http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-iran-terror-plot-20111011,0,3578090.story

This is going to be "interesting" as it unfolds if the facts hold up.  Just in terms of Saudi - Iranian relations if nothing else. 

Interesting is understatement. I'm thinking maybe Sunni vs. Shiite Summer to follow Arab Spring? I must admit my mind runs wild...Iraq and Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain, (and its U.S. navy base,) Iran's Greens....what say you Egypt...etc. Nukes for all?

Meanwhile I am sure much of the western left will continue to think that if only Palestine was a state, everything would be hunky dory over there.

For the last ten minutes I was thinking of coming back and saying "and did I mention Archduke Ferdinand of Sarajevo?" and before I could get to it, I just heard Chris Matthews steal it from me.surprise

I agree.  The tensions between the Sunni and Shiite groups is just looking for the right match to light something not so good- one never knows what it is going to be.  This could it (or not).  In one strange way, Israel, through its function as the common enemy, has served to keep some conflicts under wraps for a long time. 

has served to keep some conflicts under wraps for a long time.

Anyone who really knows the region will tell you that most mideast dictators and pols used Israel as the bete noire to distract largely illiterate populations from sectarian tensions (which included talking one way to their people in their own language and another way in English to the rest of the world.) Israel stupidly obliged/obliges the narrative from time to time in cycles with its own behavior, enough so that the distractive narrative resonated all the more.

Read the FBI statement and still cannot figure out what was going on.  Sounds like it was maybe more personal than political even though the target is foreign official and one of the conspirators is very loosely connected to the Iranian military.  The statement indicated more information would be forthcoming.  Maybe it will make more sense then. 

Did you notice that the name of the Manhattan bank was very obviously withheld?

 Sounds like it was maybe more personal than political

Hope so! But even if it is, I think convincing the Saudis it isn't might be another matter.

Did you notice that the name of the Manhattan bank was very obviously withheld?

No, thanks for pointing it out.

Mike Issikoff is on the story and just did a summary in a segment on Hardball, trying to explain what's known so far. It was pretty clear that he thinks "there's something here," that it's not just a penny ante scheme of renegades. It's to do with Al Quds faction of the Iranian government. I'm going to watch for what he publishes on it, he's really good at this kind of thing. Oh, and he said something about the Treasury department, that they have targeted certain accounts today.

Follow the money.

If Al Quds is really behind this, I wonder how their day will go at the workplace.

moat, I did not totally get your joke until after my reading yesterday. you really know your stuff.wink

Mike Isikoff:  Iranian military official implicated in assassination plot, deadly Iraq attack, NBC News, from 6 hours ago:

U.S. officials have released new information accusing three high level Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials of overseeing an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador. One of them, a deputy commander in the Iranian Qods Force, had previously been accused of plotting a highly sophisticated attack that killed five U.S. soldiers in Iraq, according to U.S. government officials and documents made public Tuesday afternoon.

The Qods Force official who coordinated the alleged plot was identified by the Treasury Department as Abdul-Reza Shahlai, the cousin of the suspect, Manssor Arbabsiar.....

continued

I'm still missing the motive here. What could Iranian officials possibly hope to get out this?

Stay tuned. This is one of those "there's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear" things. 

I should add this from Isikoff's piece:

....Shahlai was not identified by name in the criminal complaint released by the Justice Department, referred to only as a "cousin" of the suspect, a high-ranking official in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

But on Tuesday the Treasury Department identified him and two other senior Iranian Qods Force officers as being involved in both the earlier attack and the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil and imposed economic sanctions against them. The Treasury Department move significantly ratchets up the pressure against Tehran.

The senior Qods Force officers were identified as Maj. Gen. Qasem Solemami and Halem Abdollahi.

Solemami oversaw the Iranian officers involved in the plot, according to the Treasury announcement. Soleimani has twice been previously blacklisted by the department, most recently for allegedly overseeing Qods Forces in involved in human rights abuses against protesters in Syria....

U.S. issues world travel alert linked to Iran plot

Oct 12, 2011 1:25am EDT

(Reuters) - The State Department late on Tuesday issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens, warning of the potential for anti-U.S. action after the United States accused Iran of backing a plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington.

"The U.S. government assesses that this Iranian-backed plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador may indicate a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against diplomats from certain countries, to include possible attacks in the United States," it said in a statement on its website.

The alert expires January 11, 2012, it said...

Julian Borger @ The Guardian, Oct. 11, 18:55edt:

Alleged Iran plot could have been trigger for war in Middle East
State-sponsored or a rogue act, the killing of Saudi ambassador in the US would have ensured the Middle East went up in flames

.....Robert Baer, a former CIA agent with long experience of observing the QF, said: "This stinks to holy hell...."

A new sectarianism is reshaping the Arab world
By Hussein Ibish, Ibish blog, October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Across the Arab world, terrifying sectarian dynamics are starting to emerge, essentially pitting Arab Sunnis versus all religious minorities. The elements of this have been obvious for quite a while, but the pattern has become so pronounced and almost pervasive that it demands to be recognized no matter how frightening the prospects.

Throughout the region, political forces are lining up time and again along this extremely dangerous binary divide....

I don't buy a word of it. You've got an indicted DEA drug-cartel informant, posing as a hit man capable of planting a bomb in D.C., an Iranian-American described by associates as "scatterbrained," and a "plot" that's been simmering since June, so carefully monitored that "the Saudi ambassador was never in danger." I'm sure he wasn't. And the one actual link to Iran is a guy they don't have in custody. Hey, believe it if you want.

And casting the Iranian-Saudi animosity as a deeper "Sunni-Shiite" division is simplistic -- to use the mildest, most polite term for it. You all do realize your government has a dozen or more of these "plots" going at any one time that it pulls out at politically opportune moments, don't you?

No wonder Americans elect Republicans.

Whether true or not, the U.S. government is making a much bigger deal of it, more than the usual "plot." And that's why it's news worth following.

As a matter of fact, if you are wont to see it that way, Sec. Clinton in an hour interview with AP Tuesday afternoon doesn't appear to be hiding anything, then, here is her "plot," and it includes pretense that she too finds it to stretch credibility:

....."This really, in the minds of many diplomats and government officials, crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for," Clinton told The Associated Press in an interview. She said the plot — it allegedly involved Iranian government agents trying to contract a Mexican cartel to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir — was stranger than fiction.

"The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?" she said in a nearly hour-long, wide-ranging interview with AP reporters and editors.

Speaking shortly after the Justice Department announced the uncovering of the alleged plot, Clinton said the scheme "creates a potential for international reaction that will further isolate Iran, that will raise questions about what they're up to, not only in the United States and Mexico."....

So if you don't like my and Trope's initial reaction, or Julian Borger's similar reaction, you can certainly have your own.
 
My point: even if it turns out to be the case that this is all a ruse for the U.S. to gin up action against Iran, that's important news as well, is it not?
 
And neither of us can truly know without following the reports on it as they develop.
 
Edit to add this p.s.: Obviously, you didn't get my point of selecting out Robert Baer's quote "this stinks to high heaven" from Borger's article.

Appraiser, I totally agree that this is important, specifically because of the way the U.S. government is hyping it. That is the story. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin!

And "whether it is true or not" (and what parts are true) is a crucial question.

Baer is a lone voice of skepticism; everyone else is running with speculation as to how high the orders came from, how it imperils Mideast peace, etc. -- as if the whole tale were factual and proven.

You say "neither of us can truly know without following the reports on it as they develop." Sometimes the truth takes a very long time to emerge, and by then lots and lots of people have died.

How long did the Vietnam War last after the Tonkin Gulf "incident"? How long have U.S. troops been occupying Iraq, long after the search for WMDs was called off? My skepticism has deep roots in American imperial history.

Agree acanuck. If Americans got 1/10th as thrilled, interested and informed on what goes on, or has gone on, in America, as they do in other cultures, or countries most can't even find on a map, we and our country would be a lot better off.

Example, Amerithrax, which Frontline had a hour on last night shedding doubt on the FBI's closing of the case, with a dead 'lone gunman' implicated yet never to stand trial. The anthrax attack did, of course, create hysteria which Bush used to start the Iraq War, as he assured us there were biological WMD in Iraq, which, of course, they did not have. The anthrax was ours. The convicted after death Ivins, was the second scientist who was voluntarily working on the case helping the FBI, and who was conveniently fingered in the attack. Hatfill being the first implicated, yet he fought back and vindicated himself. There has not been one peep out of a Dagblogger on the case and the shoddy police work, one of the most pivotal terror attacks in US history.

My feeling is that certain events are intended as demonstrations of what might happen to people that don't get with the program.

Frontline had an interesting link in the comments section to a Las Vegas news report from 12/2001 saying that the Utah Dugway Army Biowarfare facility may have been the source of the anthrax spores, and had at least a pro forma 'investigation' by the FBI related to the anthrax attacks.

 

Treasury Sanctions Five Individuals Tied to Iranian Plot to Assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States

10/11/2011-WASHINGTON – 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.

[.....]
 
As a result of today’s designations, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with these individuals, and any assets they may hold in the U.S. are frozen.
 
Manssor Arbabsiar
Arbabsiar met on a number of occasions with senior IRGC-QF officials regarding this plot and acted on behalf of senior Qods Force officials – including his cousin Abdul Reza Shahlai and Shahlai’s deputy Gholam Shakuri – to execute the plot. During one such meeting, a $100,000 payment for the murder of the Saudi ambassador was approved by the IRGC-QF. After this meeting, Arbabsiar arranged for approximately $100,000 to be sent from a non-Iranian foreign bank to the United States, to the account of the person he recruited to carry out the assassination.
 
Qasem Soleimani
As IRGC-QF Commander, Qasem Soleimani oversees the IRGC-QF officers who were involved in this plot. Soleimani was previously designated by the Treasury Department under E.O. 13382 based on his relationship to the IRGC. He was also designated in May 2011 pursuant to E.O. 13572, which targets human rights abuses in Syria, for his role as the Commander of the IRGC-QF, the primary conduit for Iran's support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID).
 
Hamed Abdollahi
Abdollahi is also a senior IRGC-QF officer who coordinated aspects of this operation. Abdollahi oversees other Qods Force officials – including Shahlai – who were responsible for coordinating and planning this operation.
 
Abdul Reza Shahlai
Shahlai is an IRGC-QF official who coordinated the 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. Shahlai worked through his cousin, Mansour Arbabsiar, who was named in the criminal complaint for conspiring to bring the IRGC-QF’s plot to fruition. Shahlai approved financial allotments to Arbabsiar to help recruit other individuals for the plot, approving $5 million dollars as payment for all of the operations discussed.
 
Shahlai was designated by Treasury in September 2008 pursuant to E.O. 13438 for threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the Government of Iraq.
 
Ali Gholam Shakuri
Shakuri is an IRGC-QF officer and deputy to Abdul Reza Shahlai who acted on behalf of Shahlai in support of this plot. Shakuri provided financial support to Arbabsiar and met with Arbabsiar several times to discuss the planned assassination and other attacks. With Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar arranged for the $100,000 down payment to be sent from a non-Iranian foreign bank to the United States.
 
Background on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force

The IRGC-QF is the Government of Iran’s primary foreign action arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist organizations and extremist groups around the world......

[....]

Art, Here is the best link you are going to find, I'm surprised you missed it! http://blogs.ft.com/the-world/2011/10/would-iran-really-plot-to-blow-up-...

It does completely undermine Iran's strategy to play nice as possible with international bodies while going ahead with as many activities they can get away with. Simultaneously declaring war on the U. S. and Saudi Arabia just seems ridiculous.

.

I don't get it.

Sorry mote, I posted a comment and then decided that I didn't want to keep it up.  I was joshing with "David the American" who is our dear friend David Seaton.  Nothing to do with what you wrote moat.

Certainly Saudi Arabia itself is a prime suspect of fabricating this "gang who couldn't shoot straight" plot. The Saudis with Shiite problems in Bahrain and in their own oil provinces, have every reason to justify a hard line against Iran... The Israeli ultra-right might also find it very expedient to create such a provocation as a casus belli in order to set back Iran's progress in producing an a-bomb or to create a distraction from their Palestinian nightmare... and who knows what creatures are born in the fevered brains at Langley? What doesn't make any sense at all is that the Iranians themselves are behind it. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose... This reminds me of the run up to the invasion of Iraq.

Much better Seaton.  You can teach an old dog new tricks.  You're learning. By the way, I have no idea if there's anything to this.

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I.e., just because it's illogical and counterproductive doesn't mean Iran couldn't have done it. We've done plenty of illogical and counterproductive things ourselves, after all. (That sentence works no matter how you parse "we".)

My impression of the Persians is that they are very shrewd and not at all nuts. And the Revolutionary Guards are a very elite, well-trained outfit. So if they were going to kill somebody they wouldn't use this hamburger that the FBI caught. And like the Mossad, somebody would be dead if this was a Revolutionary Guard gig.

I wouldn't rule out the Revolutionary Guard, Mossad, or the CIA. With respect to the Revolutionary Guard, all organizations have their screw-ups. As for "the Persians" being "not at all nuts", that I'm going to have to challenge. All humans (and many non-humans) are nuts.

Totally agree VA.  I was just trying to encourage David to work on his conspiratorial speculations over a  broader spectrum of humanity.

I read a ton of stuff on this yesterday and collected a lot of links--but unfortunately I don't have time to clean the notes & post them right now. In the end---sooo many theories, very many naysayers, but usually for different reasons, a lot of  supposed "experts" contradicting each other about Al Quds organization and what's going on in the Iran government as well, many lists of questions, lots of speculation, lots of opinion. Maybe I'll be able to fit it in tomorrow but also maybe by then developing on this will make it all look pretty lame, as it's already starting to do to me as it coagulates in my brain.

But taking a quick look at this thread, your comment here, Atheist, is the one that jumped out at me. Because over at Uskowi on Iran, I looked not only at his posts on it but at the comments on them, because I know he gets attention from those that really know Iran's military. And your comment reminded me of one comment there jumped out at me.

His blog is pretty apolitical, he doesn't get into much opinion if at all, he mostly posts factual analytics about Iran, like the kind of info. that businesses would pay him for as a consultant. Well in the comments on this thread, when commenters started with the "this is ridiculously unbelievable," he posted this comment:

Nader Uskowi said...

    The Iranian officials and the state media have been condemning the US for its allegation, calling it politically-motivated and warmongering on part of the US, but curiously the IRGC and other officials have not yet made a statement categorically denying Shakuri’s involvement in the alleged plot, even though the indictment names Shakuri and his alleged affiliation to IRGC-Quds Force. I believe the “analysis” of why the indictment was made could wait a bit and everyone should get to the bottom of this alleged plot. Saying the indictment was politically motivated does not resolve the issue.

October 12, 2011 12:22 AM

No one else that I read pointed that out about Shakuri. No one else that's a supposed "expert" opining on it right now seems to be reading the Iranian media on it as closely as he. And he's not ready to imply what's going on yet.

(As a matter of fact, after reading what I read yesterday, it seems to me that a lot of "Mideast experts" in the west, including the ones in American gummint, don't know much about Iran at all. If they did, they wouldn't be saying so many conflicting things about it's workings.)

l8ter guys.... uskowi says wait & see, maybe I'll take his advice

Maybe I have a leg up on the experts because one thing I do know is that I don't know nothing. wink

Amen VA (no pun intended)! smiley

the facts as stated require a substantial suspension of disbelief. we are called upon to accept the remarkable good fortune that the precise zeta chosen as conspirator was a previously compromised informant and that the iranian agent did so little of vetting that this fact escaped him.

The term, "Credible deniability" was coined to describe ludicrous claims that were incredibly hard to believe but ones that, as long as they were possible, so called credible but duplicitous people could make with a straight face and still keep their incredibly lucrative jobs while [almost certainly] punking the public with the protection provided by a lie. I cannot think of a handy concise term to use for a corollary, maybe, "Incredible but possible assertion".
All we are asked to believe is that the international bad guys are  uniquely deadly and dangerous and evil and bloodthirsty [they will actually kill people and risk killing innocents for their purposes] and incredibly smart and devious, while also being incredibly amateurish, often to to point of stupidity, while at the same same time our intelligence services are incredibly competent, never devious, always above-board, and also are on one hell of a lucky streak.
 An example is the computer bombs sent from Yemen. So cleverly designed and demonstrative of the grave high tech capabilities of our backward terrorist enemies that they could have worked but were apparently part of such an intricate plan that for some diabolical reason they were set to not explode. It was suggested the bad guys just wanted to be sure that the delivery service would actually take the bombs to the address that was on them before setting the triggers on the next shipment. And how did we know just where to find the computer bombs in the nick of time that had been shipped by common carrier? From a tip by an insider to the terrorist operation sent to the Saudis who passed it on to us. What luck!, the tip included a tracking number. At least that is the incredible story we were told, when, to try to make this incredible story believable to a credible public, our brilliant agents who saved us again let that be known. They incredibly let let the incredible idea be known that someone on the inside of what was most likely a very small group ratted on the bad guys to our benefit. A rat that was in a position to know the tracking number. I wonder how the following days  of this extremely valuable, to us, terrorist group insider went after that? If he even existed, that is.  One way or another, he doesn't now. Or maybe he does, but that would be hard to believe.
 How many plots have been  discovered through incredible luck. Any one of them could have played out the way we are told but the odds that so many did so are getting pretty long.
 The Saudi ambassador's death would have had no more operational significance if he had died of a heart attack. There was no reason to kill him except to make a statement. Its purpose could not have been to foil some operation or break up some group. Its purpose had to be to make a statement, to start something. [Like a war, maybe?] For it to have been an Iranian plot and for it to have benefited them after being successful they would have had to openly take credit or else have had to successfully made the killing look like it was done by someone else, depending on their devious intent.
 Nobody seems to think they could have had any chance of the killing not traced back to them if it had gone through to its [alleged] intended end. If we give them credit for not being such morans cheeky  that they thought they could pull off a moronic plot and make the world think someone else did it, then we must think that they wanted the killing to happen with the intention of the world knowing they did it and that they wanted the consequences that would result. I suppose that is incredibly possible.
 I don't have to think that the Iranians are all good guys, operatives who are all above pulling off black ops or false flag operations, to think of alternate scenarios that are, in this case, easier to believe, scenarios in which other actors from other countries are more likely responsible. 

But, Lulu, the government looked very carefully at the evidence and they're still convinced -- really, really convinced -- that the Iranians did it. Or tried to do it. Who are we to argue? What are we, commies?

Remember when the Defense Department was accusing Iran of killing U.S. troops by supplying IEDs to Iraqi militias. The argument was that the "shaped charges" being used were too sophisticated to be made in Iraq, so they had to have come from Iran.

Then they raided an arms workshop and found -- guess what? -- dozens of shaped charges at various stages of completion. So that line of complaint, which up till then had fueled pundit outrage, vanished overnight. Not a peep from the experts and analysts about how they'd all bought this load of BS. Memory hole.

I recall Colin Powell at the United Nations, holding up a vial of baby powder and describing how, if it were toxin X or Y, it could kill everybody in the room, or New York, or the world. As if that were evidence of anything, except the poor quality of the State Department's dramatic writing department.

Your government lies to you, people. And to the world. Routinely.

The only difference is that you, the American people, routinely believe them. The rest of the world laughs, and shakes its head ruefully. "There they go again." But the humor is starting to wear thin.

Remember the ruthless efficiency and impossible to convert Commies? Maaaaan, now THEY were worthy opponents, eh? Back in the day. Great accents, too. And then, whoosh poosh, turns out they were all incompetent buffoons who could be converted to capitalism and democracy by a coupla bottles of Coke. Still. Them Revolutionary Guards sound scary. Almost as much as Saddam's Guards. {shiver}

Judge Sets Trial Date in Alleged Plot to Kill Saudi Official
By Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, February 7, 2012

Citing delays in the case of an Iranian-American man charged in a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, a federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday set a trial date of Oct. 22 and said that he wanted “to get this case on track.”

The defendant, Mansour J. Arbabsiar, a used-car salesman from Corpus Christi, Tex., has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 29 at Kennedy International Airport. The case has helped fuel tensions between the United States and Iran, and is expected to lead to a legal challenge over the statements he was said to have made voluntarily during 12 days of interrogation [....]

Psychiatrist Details Talks With Suspect in Bomb Plot
By Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, October 4/5, 2012

He has been seen as something of an unlikely if stumbling terrorism suspect, a used-car salesman from Texas accused of being the American nexus of a global terrorism plot that called for assassinating the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

But the suspect, Mansour J. Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American who has been jailed pending trial, recently told a psychiatrist that he had an idea about how he might resolve his legal troubles, a new report shows.

“I have spent my life making deals,” Mr. Arbabsiar was quoted as saying. “If America wants to make a deal with me, they can do it.” He added: “If you want information, I will give you information. If you want addresses, I will give you addresses.”

[....]

Prosecutors have said that after his arrest on Sept. 29, 2011, Mr. Arbabsiar waived his right to a lawyer and confessed to his role in the plot. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers, citing findings by two other experts that he was suffering from bipolar disorder, have asked that his statements be suppressed or the case be dismissed.

It was in that context that Dr. Gregory B. Saathoff, a University of Virginia psychiatrist retained by the government, began meeting with Mr. Arbabsiar at the Metropolitan Correctional Center and prepared a report of his findings.

[....]

Dr. Saathoff’s report, filed this week in Federal District Court in Manhattan, offers rich new detail about Mr. Arbabsiar’s life and thinking, much of it purportedly through his own words.

[....]

Guilty Plea In Plot To Murder Saudi Ambassador
by Mark Memmott, NPR, October 17, 2012 4:34 PM

[....]

According to the FBI, "Gholam Shakuri, aka 'Ali Gholam Shakuri,' a co-conspirator and Iran-based member of the Qods Force ... who was also charged in the plot, remains at large." He's presumably in Iran.

Iranian officials have accused the U.S. of fabricating the plot.

Arbabsiar "faces a maximum potential sentence of 25 years in prison (10 years on counts one and two, and five years on count three)," Justice says. He is to be sentenced in January.
 

Man Pleads Guilty in Plot to Murder a Saudi Envoy
By BENJAMIN WEISER, New York Times, October 17/18, 2012

[....]

Mr. Arbabsiar’s plea came days before a hearing at which Judge Keenan was to have considered a motion by Mr. Arbabsiar’s lawyers to suppress statements he made after being taken into custody on Sept. 29, 2011.

The authorities have said that Mr. Arbabsiar knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights to a lawyer and to a speedy court presentment during his first 12 days in custody, and had “confessed to his own role in the plot to kill the ambassador and provided extremely valuable intelligence.” He was eventually taken before a judge on Oct. 11, 2011.

In court on Wednesday, a prosecutor, Edward Y. Kim, said that the government’s proof included Mr. Arbabsiar’s “extensive” post-arrest statements.

In seeking the suppression of the statements or dismissal of charges, Ms. Shroff, the defense lawyer, cited findings by two defense experts who had diagnosed bipolar disorder in her client.

But a University of Virginia psychiatrist retained by the government, Dr. Gregory B. Saathoff, had concluded that Mr. Arbabsiar did not suffer from bipolar disorder or other mental illness that would have prevented him from knowingly consenting to questioning without a lawyer.

There was no suggestion in Mr. Arbabsiar’s plea agreement that he has any deal to cooperate with the government. Dr. Saathoff’s report notes that Mr. Arbabsiar expressed pride in his role as a car salesman, and that he even suggested a way to resolve his case. “I have spent my life making deals,” he quoted Mr. Arbabsiar as saying. “If America wants to make a deal with me, they can do it.”

Iranian-American gets 25 years in plot to kill Saudi ambassador
By Chris Boyette, CNN, June 2, 2013

New York (CNN) -- An Iranian-American who pleaded guilty to participating in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.

Attorneys for Manssor Arbabsiar, 58, wanted a 10-year sentence, but U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan agreed with the prosecution's recommendation of 25 years.

Prosecutors said Arbabsiar tried to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington restaurant where Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined. But the scheme unraveled when Arbabsiar's cartel contact turned out to be an undercover agent [.....]

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