News / USA

Iranian Terror Suspect Known in Texas as Disorganized

This 1996 image provided by the Nueces County Sheriff's Office shows Manssor Arbabsiar.
This 1996 image provided by the Nueces County Sheriff's Office shows Manssor Arbabsiar.

Manssor Arbabsiar, the man the U.S. government has charged with taking part in a plot with Iranian government officials to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, lived for more than two decades in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico, before moving to a suburb near Austin, the Texas capital, a few years ago.

Sophisticated plotter?

In Austin, few people knew him, while in Corpus Christi, Arbabsiar had several close friends and business associates.

When the news media reported that terror plot suspect Manssor Arbabsiar had once lived in Corpus Christi, The secretary of the South Texas Islamic Society Samir Jifi-Bahlool,  winced. “He is somebody I never met," he said. "He does not represent me or my faith or my community.”


Of area residents who are religious, the overwhelming majority are Christian.

Muslims are few in number, but they have an active, growing community.

But Jifi-Bahlool says most Iranians living here seem to be secular and he says Arbabsiar, from what has been reported, was certainly not religious. “He used to go to the strip joints and drink regularly and he does not sound like someone who was a devout Muslim or religious,” he stated.

Most people in this tourist destination had never heard of Manssor Arbabsiar before his arrest last week.

Mostly known in auto sales

He was mainly known by people who dealt with him at this used automobile sales lot near downtown.

One of his former business partners, David Tomscha, describes Arbabsiar as a simpleton who failed at even menial tasks. “He would always lose keys; he was always disorganized with the numbers, he might try to sell you a car and say it was a 1989 [model and year] and it might be an '85...I don't know if it was that he was trying to cheat you or that he just could not remember,” said Tomscha.

In spite of his irresponsible nature, Tomscha says Arbabsiar was well liked by most people who knew him here. “He was a nice, likable guy, friendly and easy to get along with,” he said.

But Tomscha says the lure of money may have taken hold of Arbabsiar. “I cannot believe he could set anything up. It could be someone just said 'you go do this and we will give you some money,' but I am sure he is was not the mastermind,” he noted.

Most of the other people who knew Arbabsiar agree that the man they knew would not have been capable of carrying out any kind of plot.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid