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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.