NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Justice Department on Tuesday accused agents of the Iranian government of being involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, with help from a purported member of a Mexican drug cartel.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Story

Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, was charged along with Gholam Shakuri, whom authorities said was a Quds Force member. Arbabsiar was arraigned in Manhattan on Tuesday, but the second suspect is still at large.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported that, according to the federal complaint, Arbabsiar was in the market for military grade weapons and explosives and recruits from the drug cartel to carry out the assassination mission for $1.5 million.

EXTRA: Read The Complaint

“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 Attorney General Eric Holder.

Both men were charged in New York federal court. Holder said the bomb plot was a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law.

“Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said.

Mueller said the arrest of Arbabsiar came after he met in Mexico with a government informant posing as a member of a drug cartel.

“These individuals had no regard for their intended victim, no regard for innocent citizens who might have been hurt or killed in this attempted assassination,” said Mueller.

“We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan said.

Bharara says the plan was to possibly murder the ambassador in a restaurant.

“When the confidential source noted that there could be 100 or 150 people in a fictional restaurant where the requested bombing would take place, including possibly members of the United States Congress, the lead defendant, acting on behalf of a component of the government of Iran, said ‘no problem’ and ‘no big deal,'” said Bharara.

“This would be an unprecedented act by a foreign government,” Congressman Peter King told 1010 WINS. “It violates international law, it violates American law, and the president has every right to take whatever action he feels is necessary against Iran.”

Holder said the U.S. government would be taking unspecified action against the Iranian government as early as Tuesday afternoon. Asked whether the plot was blessed by the top echelons of the Iranian government, Holder said the Justice Department was not making that accusation.

Shakuri remains at large. Arbabsiar was arrested Sept. 29 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Prosecutors said he faces up to life in prison if convicted.

A spokesman for the the Iranian government called the charges “a fabrication,” CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.  However, in a statement, the Justice Department said “the defendant has identified by name and in photographic arrays, goverment of Iran officials who participated in this plot.”

The Saudi Embassy in Washington said the assassination plot is a “despicable violation of international norms, standards and conventions and is not in accord with the principles of humanity.”

The Saudi statement made no mention of the Iranian government.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (13)
  1. says:

    Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, in addressing Holder’s announcement, actually commented on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Read about it at:

  2. I HATE ezPass Toll Hikes $12, its a shame says:

    Attorney General Eric Holder is in so much trouble over the Fast and Furious weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico. This story is meant to divert attention. It makes the story sound a little too fabricated to me.

    Just last month it was the story about the RC airplanes used to bomb targets in Washington which was also fabricated. By taking advantage of the public that does not understand the capability of RC airplanes. First of all they can’t carry any extra weight and second the radio control range is limited to short range without the governments satellite network the Predators’ use.

  3. JohnW9540 says:

    I’m amazed that genius Holder didn’t sell them the guns and explosives. Then again if a Mexican Drug cartel is involved.

  4. michaelfury says:

    “We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground.”

    Since when?

  5. Jim says:

    Holder is trying to save face due to the Fast & Furious scandal. I believe nothing that comes from his mouth.

  6. DanTe says:

    FACT: Everywhere where there are mu-slimes, sh-!t happens.

    China — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children and run amok with metal pipes in the streets)

    India — sh-!t happens
    (mu-slimes burned 100s of Hindus alive in packed trains and burned villagers alive while they slept)

    Middle East — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    Russia — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill women and children in crowded theaters)

    South East Asia — sh-!t happens
    (muslime thugs who kidnap teachers, school children, nurses, priests for ransom, than murder them all)

    Europe — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    USA — 9/11 happened

    Notice the pattern here? Even you sanctimonious twits can’t be that dense.

    Goes to reason, no mu-slimes, no sh-!t.
    All these camel turds understand is violence and lies anyway. I say we oblige them by killing them all and then lie about how sorry we are.

    Islam. It’s a disease. And like any other infestations of boils, pox and pestilence, it should be eradicated. You don’t talk to diseases. You eradicate them like you did polio and small pox.

    And some bleeding heart imbecile here will write that it’s just a few “radical” individuals that are murderous, just like any other society. But then conveniently forgetting about the Fact that it happens worldwide and by a LOT MORE than just a few individuals. And they also continues to blank out of their empty heads the worldwide muslime jubilee celebrations as people burned on 9/11.

    1. DANTE SUPPORTER says:

      Dante, we lost the big opportunity on 9/12/2001, US waited two or three months to “go and get them and smoke them out of their holes”…. they shoud have destroyed the whole area. No more problems….

  7. stop being ignorant says:

    what an idiotic statement. are all white people part of the ku klux klan?

    1. recharte says:

      It was an idiotic statement indeed. You can’t say all muslims are terrorists. Besides, so ignorant they don’t know how to spell muslims.

  8. Meme Meyagi says:

    there are 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa. what is done about it?

    1. Moon Them says:

      Let’s make sure they grow up to become Astronauts. Send them off to SPACE CAMP in the summer. Every Summer. Ship some off to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for space training.


        “Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is a Muslim, and as his time in space coincided with the last part of Ramadan, the Islamic National Fatwa Council drew up the first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space.[1][3] The 18-page guidebook is titled “Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites (Ibadah) at the International Space Station”, and details issues such as how to pray in a low-gravity environment, how to locate Mecca from the ISS, how to determine prayer times, and issues surrounding fasting. The orbit of the ISS results in one day/night cycle every 90 minutes,[1][28] so the issues of fasting during Ramadan are also addressed. “

        1. Muslim Astronauts says:

          The AUASS (Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Science) declared that Muslims must follow the teachings of these Muslim ASTRONAUTS:
          Sultan Salman Al Saud, Muhammed Faris, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Anousheh Ansari, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.

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