Iranian-American sentenced to 25 years for plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador

An Iran-American man was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for plotting to kill the Saudi Arabian Ambassador by blowing up a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, pled guilty to charges of murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder and terrorism.

Read more: U.S. foils Iranian assassination plot 

Arbabsiar admitted to investigators that “he was recruited, funded, and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in Iran’s Qods Force.”

The Qods Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, has been accused of carrying out terrorist attacks, assassinations, and kidnappings abroad as well as sponsoring attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Arbabsiar said that “Iranian officials were aware of, and approved of” hiring members of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the assassination.

Between May and July 2011, the 58-year-old Arbabsiar traveled to Mexico several times to meet with a drug cartel associate, who was actually working as a confidential informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Arbabsiar agreed to pay $1.5 million for the cartel associate bomb a restaurant in Washington, D.C. frequented by the Saudi Ambassador.

When the cartel associate pointed out that many innocent bystanders, including U.S. Senators, dining at the restaurant could be killed as a result, Arbabsiar dismissed his concern as “No big deal.”

Arbabsiar pressed the cartel associate to move forward with the assassination, saying that “They want that guy [the Ambassador] done [killed], if the hundred go with him, fuck ’em.”

Arbabsiar was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Sept. 29, 2011 after he was denied entry into Mexico.

“Manssor Arbabsiar was an enemy among us – the key conduit for, and facilitator of, a nefarious international plot concocted by members of the Iranian military to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States and as many innocent bystanders as necessary to get the job done,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “And but for the vigilance of our FBI and DEA partners, his plot, and the unspeakable harm it would have caused, may well have come to fruition.”

 

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