Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday afternoon that U.S. authorities had uncovered and stopped a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador and blow up the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Israel in Washington, D.C.
Holder said Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran, and Gholam Shakuri, also from Iran and said to be a member of Iran’s Quds special operations force, conspired to use weapons of mass destruction in the plot. According to Holder, Arbabsiar provided details of Iran’s involvement. According to the federal criminal complaint, the ambassador was set to be in Washington at the time of the attack.
Holder called the plan a “flagrant violation of U.S. and international law,” and said that the plot originated in Iran. “The United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” Holder said.
FBI director Robert Mueller said the arrests “send a clear message that any attacks on U.S. soil will not be tolerated.”
Updated 4:50 p.m. ET The Saudi Embassy has released a statement:
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia would like to express its appreciation to the responsible agencies of the United States government for preventing a criminal act from taking place. The attempted plot is a despicable violation of international norms, standards and conventions and is not in accord with the principles of humanity.
We’ll have more details on the terror plot on Tuesday’s NewsHour.