Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri have been charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism and other charges.
Authorities stopped a plot they believe was directed by the Iranian government to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.
The charges were presented in federal court in New York Tuesday, identifying the alleged plotters as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, both with ties to Iran. Arbabsiar has been jailed in New York since September and Shakuri remains at large.
It is believed that Iran helped conceive, sponsor and direct the attack. Holder called the alleged plot a “flagrant violation of U.S. and international law.”
According to the complaint, last spring, Arbabsiar met with an informant from the DEA agent in Mexico posing as a member of a powerful cartel. Eventually Arbabsiar allegedly offered money to the informant to assassinate the ambassador for $1.5 million. Arbabsiar allegedly wired $100,000 into a U.S. bank account. Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the alleged plot.
FBI Director Robert Mueller says many lives could have been lost in the plot to kill the ambassador with bombs in the U.S.
Holder said the U.S. government would be taking unspecified action against the Iranian government.