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Alleged Iran Terror Plot In US Foiled

Paresh Dave |
October 11, 2011 | 2:38 p.m. PDT


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Creative Commons)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Creative Commons)

The U.S. government alleged Tuesday that the Iranian government was behind a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, who according to WikiLeaks released last year once reminded U.S. diplomats that the Saudi Arabian king wanted the U.S. "to cut off the head of the snake" known as Iran.

The plot foiled by U.S. and Mexican authorities would also have involved the destruction of Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. and Buenos Aires. Twenty-nine civilians were killed when Iran bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992. Iran denied any involvement.

A Saudi official told the New York Times that plotting against Saudi Arabia is an Iranian "hobby."

“Iran has no respect for international law," he said.

This is the first time the U.S. has accused Iran of trying to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil. The accusation is likely to lead to more sanctions placed on Iran by the U.S. government and further worsening of Saudi-Iranian relations.

Iran rebutted the accusation, saying it was an attempt by the U.S. government to distract Americans from domestic problems.

U.S. officials said Iran was willing to pay $1.5 million to have the ambassador, Adel Al-Jubeir, killed.

One of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year included Al-Jubeir:

The April 2008 cable detailed a meeting between General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, and then U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and King Abdullah and other Saudi princes. 

At the meeting, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir "recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the U.S. to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program," the cable said.

"He told you to cut off the head of the snake," Jubeir was reported to have said.

In response, the defense secretary at the time, Robert Gates, said military action would only delay Iran's nuclear program by one to three years.

Reuters noted in November:

Saudi Arabia, one of the world's top oil producers, is concerned about Iran's growing military strength. The United States announced (in October) that it plans to sell the kingdom $60 billion worth of military aircraft to help it bolster its defenses.

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