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Iranian American in Alleged Plot 'No Mastermind'; IRI Officials 'Outraged'

12 Oct 2011 23:45Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

Arbabsiar2004.pg11:45 p.m., 20 Mehr/October 12 "He's no mastermind. I can't imagine him thinking up a plan like that. I mean, he didn't seem all that political. He was more of a businessman." That's what a Texas friend had to say about Mansour Arbabsiar, the Iranian American charged by the U.S. Justice Department for his role in a plot, allegedly authorized by senior officials of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States. Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri -- a purported member of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards' special operations division -- are accused of conspiring to arrange for Mexican drug traffickers to carry out the killing with a bomb while Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir dined at his favorite Washington, D.C., restaurant. The Associated Press reports that Arbabsiar
was known as "Jack" to his friends because his name was too hard to pronounce, said David Tomscha, who briefly owned a used car lot with him in the Texas Gulf Coast city of Corpus Christi. Tomscha said his friend was likable, albeit a bit lazy. [...]

Tomscha, 60, said their partnership in the 1990s ended after about six months when Arbabsiar stopped making his share of the payments for their lot, but they remained friends. Arbabsiar never talked about traveling to Mexico, Tomscha said.

Arbabsiar came to the U.S. to attend what was then known as Texas A & I University in Kingsville, Tomscha said. Then Arbabsiar opened a used car lot with a couple of college friends and eventually owned several in the Corpus Christi area, and he seemed to get first choice on the repossessed cars at the auto auction in town, Tomscha said.

"He was sort of a hustler," Tomscha said. "I think he made some money."

In 2001, Arbabsiar was arrested for theft by check; the charge was ultimately dismissed. In the Dallas area, where he formerly resided, he was once charged with evading arrest.

Iranian officials and state media have reacted angrily to the Justice Department's allegations that elements of the Islamic Republic's government were complicit in the alleged plot. Majles deputy Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, declared, "No doubt this is a new American-Zionist plot to divert the public opinion from the crisis Obama is grappling with.... Americans are seeking to derail the public opinion from the Wall Street uprising. [Iran] has never pursued or adopted the policy of assassination, and it rather is a victim of terrorism. Therefore, the U.S. officials' allegation is nothing but a big lie." In fact, from soon after its founding in 1979 through the mid-1990s, the Islamic Republic did pursue a policy of assassinations abroad of opposition figures and dissidents, such as the 1991 murder of former Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in a Paris suburb. However, there is no direct precedent for an assassination attempt against a foreign diplomat and the sole assassination on American soil committed under the Islamic Republic's aegis took place in 1980.

The semiofficial Fars News Agency, which has been closely linked to the Revolutionary Guards, placed the allegations within a context including both the Wall Street protests and the Arab Spring, as the Christian Science Monitor reports:

Fars [...] said US officials and media had "started staging a new scenario against Tehran" to divert global attention from "uprisings in the US" and across the Middle East, and to "launch a new wave of security measures in the US."

Fars stated that historically the US would "launch psychological operations against Washington's foes in sensitive junctures," and that today it had a host of reasons for this "new puppet show," from stepping up pressure on Iran in nuclear talks to hiding the "massacre" of protesters by US allies in the Middle East.

The worldview of Fars: "This new act can help the White House to start a new wave of security measures across the US...to better clamp down on Wall Street protests which have overwhelmed the country."

Press TV, the English-language subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, featured similar comments made by Majles Speaker Ali Larijani, who

censured the United States for engaging in a "tactless and childish game" against the Islamic Republic.

The US seeks to gloss over certain internal problems through "cheap talks and wide media coverage," said Larijani in an open Majlis session on Wednesday.

The Majlis speaker added that the United States has suffered from a political stroke and embarked on a childish game, IRNA reported. [...]

The top Iranian parliamentarian raised the possibility of a new Washington scheme to generate problems between regional countries.

Larijani stated that Iran has "normal ties" with Saudi Arabia and dismissed the US allegations outright.

He further noted that Washington aims to divert the American public opinion from the domestic problems in the US.

The US cannot block the spread of Islamic Awaking in the region by such an attitude, the senior official pointed out.

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee addressed a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing his government's "outrage" over the allegations and calling on Ban to "enlighten...international public opinion about the dangerous consequences of [the] warmongering policies of the United States Government." The complete text of the letter follows:

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary General United Nations, New York

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful No. 1110 11 October 2011

Excellency,

I am writing to you to express our outrage regarding the allegations leveled by the United States officials against the Islamic Republic of Iran on the involvement of my country in an assassination plot targeting a foreign diplomat in Washington.

The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations, based on the suspicious claims by an individual. Any country could accuse other countries through fabrication of such stories. However, this would set dangerous precedents in the relations among States.

Iran has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Iran has been a victim of terrorism, a clear recent example of which is the assassination of a number of Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years carried out by the Zionist regime and supported by the United States.

The Iranian nation seeks a world free from terrorism and considers the current US warmongering and propaganda machine against Iran as a threat not just against itself but to the peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region. The Islamic Republic of Iran warns against the implications of this horrible scenario and submits that the continuation of such divide-and-rule policies could have detrimental effects on peace and security.

The US allegation is, obviously, a politically-motivated move and a showcase of its long-standing animosity towards the Iranian nation. The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically and in the strongest terms condemns this shameful allegation by the United States authorities and deplores it as a well-thought evil plot in line with their anti-Iranian policy to divert attention from the current economic and social problems at home and the popular revolutions and protests against United States long supported dictatorial regimes abroad.

The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines its determination to maintain its friendly relations with all regional countries, particularly with its Muslim neighbors, and invites all to be vigilant against the vicious campaigns targeting stability and peace and friendly relations among States in our region.

As the Secretary-General of the United Nations you have an important responsibility in enlightening the international public opinion about the dangerous consequences of warmongering policies of the United States Government on international peace and security.

I am sending identical letters to the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly. It would be appreciated if this letter could be circulated as a document of the General Assembly under the agenda item 83 and of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.

Mohammad Khazaee Ambassador Permanent Representative

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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