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Thu 13 Oct 2011 07:08 PM

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Iranian murder plot met with skepticism in Middle East

Alleged plan to kill Saudi envoy is propaganda to ramp up Iran sanctions, say analysts

Iranian murder plot met with skepticism in Middle East
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Persian state has denied backing a plot to kill Saudis envoy to the US
Iranian murder plot met with skepticism in Middle East
Saudi King Abdullah and US President Barack Obama
Iranian murder plot met with skepticism in Middle East
Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir
Iranian murder plot met with skepticism in Middle East
US President Barack Obama

Accusations of an Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s
envoy to the US are part of an agenda to isolate Iran and increase sanctions against
it, Middle East analysts said.

Evidence given by the US to show the Persian state’s security
forces backed an astonishing bomb plot to kill Adel Jubeir was “pretty flimsy”,
said Dubai-based Theodore Karasik.

“I don’t think [Iran] would be stupid enough to launch an
assassination attempt on a Saudi ambassador in the United States. That is just
plain stupid and not what Iran does best,” Karasik, director of research at
Dubai’s Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told Arabian

“To me, it is pretty flimsy evidence that this is as real
threat as it has been painted.”

The Obama administration on Wednesday gave United Nations
diplomats detailed intelligence to support charges that Iran plotted to
assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US.

Susan Rice, the US envoy to the UN, offered evidence that Washington
claims shows Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old Iranian citizen with a US
passport, and Gholam Shakuri, a member of the Quds Force Iranian military unit,
had conspired to use plastic explosives to murder Jubeir.

The alleged plot was thwarted when Arbabsiar made contact with
an informant of the US Drug Enforcement Administration posing as an associate of
the Zetas, a violent Mexican drug cartel.

Arbabsiar wired them $100,000 as a downpayment, to be
followed by installments of $10,000, prosecutors said. The DEA informant said
it would cost $1.5m to carry out the assassination.

US officials said the plan – described as “straight out of
Hollywood” - was likely vetted at high levels in Iran but said it was possible President
Ahmadinejad did not have knowledge of the plot.

Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations and a
former aide to Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair said it was difficult to accept
Iran would have approved such an outlandish scheme.

“I find it hard to believe that senior officials in Iran
approved this,” he told Bloomberg News. “However, if they did, then it suggests
a degree of recklessness that is extremely worrisome, and not befitting a
wannabe nuclear power.”

Article continues on next page...

Tehran has angrily rejected the charges and described the
evidence provided by the US as "amateurish". Iran’s ambassador to the
UN, Mohammad Khazaee, said the accusations were “a really big lie” and said the
plot “doesn’t make sense.”

The Gulf states, however, were quick to condemn the alleged
bombing plot. The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),
Abdulattif al-Zayani, described it as a "flagrant violation" of all
laws and international agreements.

Zayani said the alleged plot was "seriously harmful for
relationships between Council nations on the one hand and Iran on the

"The burden of proof is overwhelming... and clearly
shows official Iranian responsibility for this. Somebody in Iran will have to
pay the price," senior Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador
to Washington, said in London on Wednesday.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter regional and to some extent
sectarian rivals, but they maintain diplomatic ties and even signed a security
agreement in 2001. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Riyadh in

But tensions between Saudi and Iran have escalated over the
upheaval sweeping the Arab world, with both countries suspecting each other of
inciting unrest against them or their allies.

Karasik said the US may leverage the allegations to press for
further sanctions against Iran, which it suspects of attempting to build a bomb
through its nuclear programme.

“This could be an opportune time for the US to win
propaganda points and also to launch an information operation against the
Iranian regime and to isolate it even further,” said Karasik,

“America’s agenda in this regard is to paint Iran into a
corner and to rack up pressure on them, and perhaps to get other countries to
follow through on the sanctions.”

Ghanem Nuseibeh, a partner at consultancy firm Cornerstone
Global Associates, said the dispute hinged on how much evidence the US was
prepared to air publicly.

“The question is what sort of evidence the Americans have
and what sort of evidence they are willing to share with the Saudis and how far
the Saudis are prepared to go,” he said.

 “If [the US] has very
strong evidence and if they can convince the Arab world, and Saudi more
specifically, it would definitely lead to more sanctions… Saudi, Jordan and the
UAE are clearly uncomfortable in the way the Iranian regime has been conducting
itself, Bahrain too.”

Arif 8 years ago

US is deflecting its (internal) problem again by creating other diversion and further fueling discord, distrust, disturbances. I will take this news "pinch of salt" and leave it.

Habeeb 8 years ago

Have a look at President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's speech at UN General Assemply and then CONNECT the DOTS.....

Iran is not stupid to trigger crisis in the region when it is being blamed for uprising in Bahrain and other places.

There will be many more events in future involving Iran and that the whole ME and Muslim countries are again enslaved for another generation.

Hoosen 8 years ago

It does seem quite brazen for Iran to have authorized such an act. What is needed is an independent investigation, such as by a UN appointed body.

Punky Brewster 8 years ago

Just an INPUT into the Intelligence Arm of the US of A. This SAME country tried it once brilliantly, by going to war in IRAQ over WMD. Need I say more....!!??

Abu Ameen 8 years ago

Sadly this incident make the accusers look amateurish. The USA squandered the little credibility it had when it came to Mideast issues a long time ago. Saudi Arabia isn't doing it's own international image any favours by being party to this. The matter would have been better dealt with discreetly!