ABC News has broken a story about the disruption of a major Iran-backed terrorist plot to stage an attack on U.S. soil. According to U.S. officials, the plan was to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington D.C. Parallel attacks were planned for these two countries’ embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The case is still being developed, and it isn’t clear whether the origin of this plot goes back to Tehran. According to ABC’s sources, Manssor Arbabsiar -- an Iranian American living in Texas -- approached an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, thinking he was speaking with a member of a Mexican drug gang for help in the proposed attacks. He said he was acting on behalf of a cousin, Gohlam Shakuri, who might be a Revolutionary Guard official involved in terrorist operations.
He offered $1.5 million for the killing, with a $50,000 down payment being paid by Arbabsiar while on a visit to Iran.
These two men have been charged with conspiracy to kill, among other charges. Arbabsiar, who is now cooperating with the prosecution, also offered to provide opium in large quantities for the Mexican drug cartels. Apparently, the FBI has a lot of evidence, including recordings of meetings and telephone calls with Arbabsiar.
Let’s assume that this story is accurate. What’s most important here is not the innate sensationalism of this dramatic story, but its political implications. An Iranian official -- perhaps two according to the indictment -- is directly linked with a plan to stage terrorist attacks on American soil in which Americans would certainly have been killed or injured. This amounts to an act of war.
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