Mexican cartels, C-4 explosives and the $1.5 million plot: Details emerge of 'Iranian government's' plan to kill Saudi Ambassador in Washington

  • Ranking Iranian officials 'approved' restaurant bomb attack
  • Iranians offered $1.5m to fake Mexican cartel for bomb plot
  • One plotter still 'at large'
Details of the terror plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington have begun to emerge.
In a dramatic press conference, Eric Holder spoke of how elements of the Iranian government financed and aided the plot to murder ambassador Adel al-Jubeir - offering a bounty of $1.5 million to the plotters.
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 member of the Iranian regime's hard core 'Quds Force'.
Captured: Manssor Arbabsiar was arrested in September for an alleged plot to blow up the Saudi Ambassador in Washington
Captured: Manssor Arbabsiar was arrested in September for an alleged plot to blow up the Saudi Ambassador in Washington
TIME LINE TO MURDER: HOW THE PLOT ESCALATED
May 24: Arbabsiar first meets someone posing as an associate of a drug trafficking cartel in Mexico, who was actually a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant codenamed CS-1. Arbabsiar asked about the informant's knowledge of explosives and explained he was interested in attacking a Saudi embassy.
June 2: Arbabsiar returned to Mexico and held more meetings with the informant in late June and early July. He allegedly said his associates in Iran had discussed a number of 'violent missions' including the murder of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir.
July 14: Arbabsiar meets CS-1 again, they discuss plot details - 4 men needed and payment of $1.5 million
July 17: The pair meet again in Mexico, CS-1 says one member of his gang has already carried out surveillance of the ambassador and they allegedly discussed bombing a restaurant in the United States where the ambassador frequently dined.
August 1 and 9: Arbabsiar makes two overseas wire transfers 'totalling approximately $100,000'
September 28: Arbabsiar flys to Mexico, refused entry and sent back to JFK
September 29: Arrested at JFK by federal agents
October 4-5: Arbabsiar, who has been in U.S. custody since his arrest, made phone calls that were monitored by U.S. law enforcement agents to Shakuri, described as a member of the Quds Force, a branch of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He is believed to be based in Iran.
Shakuri allegedly confirmed to Arbabsiar the plot should move forward as quickly as possible, stating 'just do it quickly, it's late'.
According to prosecutors, when asked by undercover agents about the potential loss of innocent life in the bombings, Arbabsiar replied, 'They want that guy [al-Jubeir] done.
'If the hundred go with him, f**k 'em.'
Speaking today, Attorney General Eric Holder said: 'The criminal complaint unsealed today exposes a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on U.S. soil with explosives.
'Through the diligent and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we were able to disrupt this plot before anyone was harmed.
'We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously and bring those who have violated any laws to justice,' he added.
The Justice Department said that from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Qods Force, had been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador.
Arbabsiar was said to have unknowingly hired informant from the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the plot.
Posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, the informant [CS-1] met with Arbabsiar several times in Mexico, authorities said.
Arbabsiar was said to have first met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, inquiring CS-1’s knowledge of explosives before explaining that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.
According to the charges, CS-1 allegedly indicated he had knowledge of using C-4 explosives.
Arbabsiar was then said to have returned to Mexico in June and July 2011 where he held additional meetings with CS-1.
In a July 14, 2011, meeting in Mexico, CS-1 allegedly told Arbabsiar that he would need to use four men to carry out the Ambassador’s murder and that his price for carrying out the murder was $1.5 million.
Arbabsiar then offered a $100,000 down payment and during the same meeting, he boasted to CS-1 his cousin in Iran - a 'big general' in the Iranian military according to Arbabsiar - had knowledge of the attack.
In July 17, CS-1 and Arbabsiar met again, with CS-1 saying one of his men had already carried out surveillance of the ambassador.
Charged: Holder announced that two individuals have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government
Charged: Holder announced that two individuals have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government
Target: Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir was the intended target for the plot, according to prosecutors
Target: Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir was the intended target for the plot, according to prosecutors
WHO ARE THE SECRETIVE QUDS FORCE ?
Iran’s secretive Quds Force is an elite brigade within Iran's revolutionary Guard.
The Guards, with their own navy, air force and command structure separate from the regular armed forces, are seen as fiercely loyal to the supreme leader.
Within the Guards, Quds are tasked with 'exporting' the Iranian revolution abroad.
Said to contain 15,000 troops, the force is accused of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa and now North America.
In the past, the U.S. has accused Quds of arming Iraqi militants with deadly bomb-making material, building up an extensive network in the war-torn country, recruiting Iraqis and supporting not only Shiite militias but also Shiites allied with Washington.
When CS-1 raised the possibility of mass casualties, Arbabsiar was said to say: 'They want that guy [the Ambassador] done [killed], if the hundred go with him f**k ‘em.'
On August 1, and August 9, 2011, with Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar allegedly made two overseas wire transfers 'totalling approximately $100,000' that prosecutors say were sent to an FBI undercover account.
After CS-1 then demanded a further down payment, Arbabsiar flew to Mexico to act as a guarantee the fee would be paid.
After being refused entry to Mexico on September 28, he was returned to New York's JFK airport, where he was arrested by federal agents on September 29.
He then, according to prosecutors: 'Told agents that he then met with the CS-1 in Mexico and discussed assassinating the Ambassador.
'According to the complaint, Arbabsiar said that, afterwards, he met several times in Iran with Shakuri and another senior Qods Force official, where he explained that the plan was to blow up a restaurant in the United States frequented by the Ambassador and that numerous bystanders could be killed, according to the complaint. '
'The plan was allegedly approved by these officials.'
Residence: The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington
Residence: The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington
 
 
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