News / Middle East

Clinton Vows 'Strong Message' to Iran Over Terror

Attorney General Eric Holder (L) accompanied by FBI Director Robert Mueller, announced that two men have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United Sta
Attorney General Eric Holder (L) accompanied by FBI Director Robert Mueller, announced that two men have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United Sta

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States will seek to further isolate Iran after Tehran was implicated Tuesday in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington.  The U.S. Justice Department charged two men including an Iranian-born U.S. citizen in an elaborate plot, for which Iran denies responsibility.

The United States has long characterized Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  But the alleged plot, detailed in charges filed in a U.S. federal court in New York, marked the first allegation of Iranian involvement in a would-be terror attack on U.S. soil.

According to the court papers, an Iranian-born American citizen, Manssor Arbabsiar, approached a U.S. government informant in Texas, believing him to represent a Mexican drug cartel.

Watch a related report by Meredith Buel


He offered $1.5 million for the drug gang to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir with a bomb to be planted at a Washington restaurant and delivered a $100,000 down-payment.

Arbabsiar was arrested late last month and is said to have confessed to his role in the plot.  The U.S. charge sheet says Arbabsiar conspired with Gholam Shakuri, an Iranian based official of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.  

At a news conference, Attorney-General Eric Holder Holder said the plot was conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran and constitutes a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law.

“In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions," said Holder. "Arbabsiar and Shakuri are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism, among others.”

Holder did not specify what the United States will do to hold Iran accountable.  But Secretary Clinton later told reporters that United States is beginning  a diplomatic drive to further isolate Tehran.

“We will be consulting with our friends and partners around the world about how we can send a very strong message that this kind of action, which violates international norms must be ended," said Clinton.

Attorney-General Holder said the plot was directed by senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian military, which oversee the Quds Force, but said the United States is not alleging “at his point” that Iran’s political leadership was involved.

Iran denied involvement in the alleged plot, with a spokesman for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissing the allegations as a fabrication aimed at distracting attention from U.S. economic problems.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long been rivals for regional power and influence. But counter-terrorism expert Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Affairs says plotting to kill Saudi envoy Jubeir, a close advisor to King Abdullah, takes the rivalry to a new dangerous level.

“This is an upping of the ante in the extreme. Again, we need to caution that we can only comment on that which has been made public so far," said Levitt. "But if this ends up being accurate, it is a sharp break in Iran’s traditional modus operandi.”

Levitt said the alleged plot may reflect Iranian desperation over Western nuclear sanctions and a fear it is losing influence amid pro-democracy ferment in the Middle East.

In the U.S. Congress, there were bipartisan calls for crippling pressure on Iran.  Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said legislators are outraged the murder scheme reached U.S. soil.  

“We need to heighten the sanctions on Iran and make it clear that this kind of action will not be countenanced," said Durbin.

The Saudi embassy in Washington called the plot a despicable violation of international norms and standards, and expressed appreciation to U.S. law enforcement for preventing a criminal act from taking place.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs