The Justice Department on Tuesday made vague accusations that “factions of the Iranian government” conspired in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old US citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, was charged along with Gholam Shakuri, whom Eric Holder said in a press conference Tuesday was a Quds Force member still residing in Iran.
The media was quick to describe the news as “an Iranian terrorist plot,” but the case appears to be another FBI sting operation and perhaps entrapment of a disgruntled citizen. Asked whether the plot was even known about by the top echelons of the Iranian government, Holder said the Justice Department was not making that accusation.
Arbabsiar allegedly sought out cooperation from the Zetas Mexican drug cartel to kidnap Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir. He had in fact met with an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent, after which point the kidnapping turned into an assassination plot.
Arbabsiar is said to have been the middle man in hiring out who he thought to be Zetas gang members for the assassination and allegedly wired $100,000 as a downpayment for a total eventual payment of $1.5 million for the kill.
Holder said the US government would be taking unspecified action, perhaps additional economic sanctions, against the Iranian government as early as Tuesday afternoon. Despite this – plus attempts by the media to imply this plot was directed by the Iranian government – no direct accusations or evidence has been brought forth that the Iranian government was complicit, or even knowledgeable, of the plot.
The FBI has made a protocol of cradling disgruntled individuals, posing as operatives in extremist groups, and encouraging them to engage in violence. Their practices have come under increasing scrutiny as qualifying as entrapment.
For years now, a concerted covert US campaign of cyber-terrorism, commercial sabotage, targeted assassinations, and proxy wars has apparently been under way in Iran. Additionally, US-supported Israeli agents have admitted to committing terrorist acts, including assassinations, on people inside Iran.
The US is currently imposing harsh economic sanctions against Iran and has been garrisoning Iran’s surroundings with war, occupation, military bases, provocative naval activity, and rival client states.
This failed plot, apparently concocted at least in part by the FBI, and apparently traced to some rogue individual within the Quds Force (not to the Iranian government), is the only tangible action that the US has been able to claim came from any Iranian elements.
These developments come days after the Iranian government proposed – again – to swap low-enriched uranium for fuel rods to use in the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes. The deal, abandoned by the US in 2009 after Iran agreed to it, would safeguard against fears of Iran’s nuclear enrichment being used for military purposes, despite there being no evidence for such fears.
To sweeten the deal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that the Iranian government is willing to immediately stop all production of 20-percent enriched uranium if the US agrees to the deal. The US has so far turned down the renewed opportunity to ease tensions and reduce the potential for nuclear proliferation, instead using this FBI sting to push for even harsher measures against Iran.