US creates an Iranian albatross
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
NEW YORK - Undeterred by mounting skepticism regarding their recent allegations
of an Iran terror plot in Washington, the United States and Saudi Arabia have
joined hands by introducing a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly
that accuses Iran of violating a UN treaty respecting the protection of foreign
diplomats and calls on Iran to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of this
This follows the unsealing in federal court in New York City on October 11 of a
complaint that alleges, among other things, Iranian government involvement in a
plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States,
Adel-Al-Jubeir. Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri were named in the
complaint, which said:
In or about the spring of 2011, Gholam Shakuri,
aka "Ali Gholam Shakuri", the defendant, provided thousands of dollars to
Arbabsiar in Iran to pay for expenses related to furthering the plot to kill
the ambassador to the United States of Saudi Arabia ... 
filing further ties the assassination plot to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps and the Qods Force.
As expected, Iran has reacted sharply to the draft UN resolution, that may be
voted on in a few days, with Iran's ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee,
questioning the unprecedented move of putting "hypothetical, circumstantial and
unsubstantiated matters" on the General Assembly's agenda. He added that such a
resolution "would significantly undermine the role, authority, integrity and
credibility of the General Assembly as the highest and universal political body
of the United Nations".
This is not the first nor shall it be the last time that the US has used its
substantial influence at the UN to further its foreign policy objectives
against a rival state. Walking through the UN halls, one can still hear the
echo of heated debate at the Security Council on Iraq in 2002-2003, when
then-US secretary of state Colin Powell adamantly claimed that there was
substantial and "irrefutable" evidence of an active and advanced Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction program - that turned out to be a hoax and a mere pretext
for the illegal invasion of a sovereign Middle East country.
On a related note, on Wednesday, at a news conference at the UN, another
Iranian official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, adviser to Iran's judiciary and head
of Iran's human rights council, lambasted the US for plotting against Iran by
leveling false allegations.
Larijani sounded conciliatory on the issue of a visit to Iran by the special
human rights rapporteur on Iran "as long as he maintained professionalism" and
also called on Western governments to assist Iran in combating Afghan drug
"Some 74% of executions in Iran are drug-related," Larijani said, making known
his preference for reducing the high number of executions in Iran, some of
which are "in private hands due to the law of retribution [ghesas]".
According to this law, the family of a murdered victim has the prerogative of
seeking capital punishment to avenge the death, ie, the government has little
say in these matters, although according to Larijani his council has been
active in mediating in such cases "with some success" in convincing avenging
families to lesser punishments.
But he insisted that because of the more than "quadrupling of the Afghan drug
traffic since 2011", Iran had a major problem on its hands that required
collective efforts by the international community.
A pseudo-legal case and US-Saudi strategy
By all accounts, the US terror allegation against Iran is on thin legal ground,
which is why the case in a Manhattan court has been put on a slow track. This
is probably to let it linger for a while before it is disposed of one way or
another, before it's turned into an albatross around the US's own neck.
It has the distinct potential to embarrass, in light of the serious credibility
issues surrounding the whole terror story, and the inexplicable oddity of
reflecting a highly incompetent US law-enforcement agency that throughout the
initial months of investigation (per their own admission in the complaint) did
not even bother to audio or visual record alleged terror meetings in Mexico.
The complaint's Achilles' heel, however, is one that tests credibility and
consists of the following: the complaint claims that the main culprit, an
Iranian expatriate by the name of Arbabsiar, has a "cousin" in Iran who gave
him money to "kidnap" and "kill" the Saudi ambassador. Yet this person is
identified not by his name but rather as "Iran official # 1" and is not even
named as a defendant in the case, whereas another Iranian accused of conspiracy
in this matter by the name of Shakuri is both named as a defendant and an
arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Thus the question: what can possibly explain the fact that the US prosecutors
have named Shakuri and yet chosen to refer to Arbabsiar's "cousin" anonymously,
and why haven't they invoked the US law on kidnapping, as well as murder,
against this individual?
This author has posed this question to three criminal attorneys in US and has
received the unanimous response that they find this "odd" and even "bizarre"
and cannot find any plausible explanation - save for foul play by the US to
frame Iran with frivolous charges in order to advance its strategy of squeezing
the assertive and defiant Middle East country over its nuclear program.
Clearly, the US and Israel are treading the path of confrontation with Iran,
resorting to every conceivable trick to dump down on it, including by resorting
to what appears to be a pseudo-legal case of terrorism.
A prudent Iranian strategy would be to seek to introduce an alternative
resolution at the UN that calls for the investigation of false allegations
against it by US (and Saudi Arabia), thus endangering global peace and security
and violating the UN charter, that calls for respectful relations among
Maybe then the US would be jolted into closing shop on this business of a
terror plot allegation before it completely boomerangs on its authors.
1. For the Full Text Copy Amended Criminal Complaint, see