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Wednesday, October 12, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iran bomb plot targeted Washington restaurant, Saudi ambassador

WASHINGTON — The United States is said to have foiled an Iranian plot to bomb embassies of Middle East states in Washington, D.C. as well as a local restaurant.


Officials said two Iranians, directed by their government, were arrested on charges of planning to attack the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia in Washington. They said the Iranians, one of them a U.S. citizen, also plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in what marked the first alleged plan by Teheran to attack the United States.

Officials said one of the Iranians, identified as Manssor Arbabsiar, was arrested in September in New York and accused of working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Middle East Newsline reported. They said IRGC agreed to pay the 56-year-old Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen, $1.5 million to kill Saudi ambassador Adel Al Jubeir.

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Officials said the plot called for the detonation of C-4 explosives at a Washington restaurant frequented by Al Adel. They said Arbabsiar also discussed Iranian directives to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington.

"They want that guy [Saudi ambassador] done, if a hundred go with him f---- em," the complaint quoted Arbabsiar as saying.

Arbabsiar was said to have worked with the second Iranian defendant, Gholam Shakuri, in the plot against Al Jubeir. Officials said Shakuri, who fled to Iran, was an officer in IRGC's Quds Force, responsible for foreign operations and a liasion to Hamas, Hizbullah and other Iranian proxies.

Federal prosecutors, in a complaint filed in U.S. district court in New York, said Iran conceived, sponsored and directed the plot against the Saudi envoy. They said Arbabsiar sought the help of a man who turned out to be an informant from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The informant was said to have posed as an associate of a Mexican drug trafficking cartel.

"The Department of Justice is announcing charges against two people who allegedly attempted to carry out a deadly plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador here in the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder said on Oct. 11.

The federal complaint said a down payment of $100,000 was wired to the informant in July and August. The complaint said Arbabsiar, with Shakuri's approval, conducted the negotiations and since his arrest on Sept. 29 was cooperating with federal prosecutors.

"The disruption of this alleged plot marks a significant achievement by our law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as the close cooperation of our partners in the Mexican government," Holder said.

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