Iran Blasts US Terror Allegations as “Warmongering and Propaganda”

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 1:00 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Justice Department has filed charges against two Iranians accused of conspiring with elements of the Iranian government to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

On Tuesday, officials charged Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen with an Iranian passport, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of the Iranian Quds force, with conspiring to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the plot was “conceived, sponsored and directed” from Iran, promising that Washington will hold the Iranian government accountable.

Shortly after the announcement was made, the U.S. Treasury Department announced economic sanctions against Arbabsiar and Shakuri, as well as three officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

President Barack Obama called Ambassador al-Jubeir to express solidarity against the plot, calling it a “flagrant violation” of U.S. and international law. He also assured al-Jubeir that the U.S. is committed to protecting all diplomats serving in the United States.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the U.S. will continue to work with its allies to “further isolate” Iran from the international community.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Deparment issued an international travel warning for U.S. citizens, saying the scheme could be a sign that Iran has adopted a “more agressive focus” on terrorist activity. The statement also warned of possible “anti-U.S. actions” following the foiled plot.

Iran strongly denies being involved in the assassination attempt. Iran's U.N. ambassador wrote a letter Tuesday to the secretary general that expressed “outrage” over the U.S. allegations, calling them politically-motivated “warmongering and propaganda.”

Officials say Arbabsiar unknowingly hired an informant of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the plot, believing the informant had ties to Mexican drug cartels capable of killing the Saudi ambassador. They say Arabsiar confessed to making a $100,000 down payment on the scheme with a price tag of $1.5 million.

Officials arrested Arbabsiar at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on September 29, but Shakuri is still at large.