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

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    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.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora