Iran Blames Terror Plot on Opposition, US Denies

Mansour Arbabsiar

Stop Fundamentalism – Iranian officials and media are now blaming the foiled assassination attempt to kill Saudi Arabian Washington Ambassador, to Iran’s main opposition group the Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK. 

The Iranian authorities alleged that the second conspirator, Gholam Sakuri, who currently stays at large and believed to be in Iran, is an MEK affiliate.  Washington was quick to reject the allegation and stress that Shakuri is an officer of the Quds Force which is the foreign operations arm of the Iran’s IRGC.

“We note that these reports originate solely with Iranian state media sources, which have a documented history of fabricating news stories,” said Rhonda H. Shore of State Department to New York Times.

An Iranian Resistance spokesman told reporters in Paris Wednesday that, “It is a known tactic used by Iranian rulers for the past 30 years to blame the responsibility of their crimes on the MEK.”  Mohammad Mohaddessine who was talking to an Arabic language news organization, Ilaf, said that by doing so the regime aims to “both demonize its opposition and save itself from the consequences of its own wrong doings.”

US Treasury Department has sanctioned 5 people in relation to the plot during the past few days. British authorities have also announced Tuesday that they have imposed asset freezes on these five men blamed for taking part the in Assassination attempt.  The five include the two named men involved in the attempt, Gholam Shakuri and Mansour Arbabsiar. Others named are Ghasem Soleimani, Commander of the Quds Force, Hamed Amrollahi, a senior officer of the Quds Force, and Abdolreza Shahlaie, a deputy commander at the force.

France president Nicolas Sarkosy expressed his concern regarding the foiled attempt and called for the western countries to impose heavier sanctions on Iran.  “The Americans have given us specific information proving that the information is credible,” said Nicolas Sarkosy.  

When reporters asked Sarkosy if he thinks that Iran is looking for conflict, he responded, “There are convincing evidence that bring us to such conclusion.”

Washington called for Iran to extradite or prosecute the high-ranking Revolutionary Guard official, Gholam Shakuri, reporter AFP. “According to the international convention on protected persons, Iran's government has a choice to either extradite this person or submit the case for prosecution on its own. We leave it to them to take action,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a press briefing.

The other man involved is an Iranian-American dual national Mansour Arbabsiar, who is currently being held in a US jail pending trial.

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