Manssor Arbabsiar, a 58-year old Iranian-American, today pleaded guilty to plotting to kill Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington. He entered the plea to two conspiracy charges and a murder-for-hire count in US district court in Manhattan. Arbabsiar told Judge John F. Keenan that he intended to kill Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir. The judge set the sentencing for 23 January. (AFP, 17 October)
Arbabsiar, a resident of Texas who holds dual American and Iranian citizenships, told the court that he hired what he thought was a drug dealer in Mexico last year, for $1.5m, to carry out the attack with explosives at a Washington restaurant. Arbabsiar said he made a $100,000 down payment that was wired from an overseas account through a Manhattan bank. The “drug dealer” turned out to be an FBI agent.
In response to a question by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kim, Arbabsiar said that officials in the Iranian military (IRGC-Quds Force) had been involved in the plot. The U.S. government has also accused agents of the Iranian government of being involved in the plot.
Arbabsiar has been held without bail since he was arrested on 29 September 2011, at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Photo credit: A courtroom sketch shows Manssor Arbabsiar as he pleads guilty at New York Federal Court. (Christine Cornell/AFP/Getty Images)