The Office of Public Affairs for the FBI’s New York field office announced this morning that Manssor Arbabsiar, who was first arrested in September 2011, pleaded guilty to three counts associated with a plot to murder the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Manssor Arbabsiar, aka Mansour Arbabsiar, pleaded guilty today infederal court in the Southern District of New York to participating in aplot to murder the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States whilethe Ambassador was in the United States. Arbabsiar, a 58-year-oldnaturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports, wasarrested on September 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. KennedyInternational Airport. He pleaded guilty today before U.S. DistrictJudge John F. Keenan.
Arbabsiar, a Texas used car salesman and naturalized U.S. citizen with an Iranian passport, was charged on the following counts, according to the FBI press release:
- Traveling in foreign commerce and using interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire
- Conspiring to commit count one
- Conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, namely, an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries
The assassination that was to be carried out by Arbabsiar is said to have been plotted with Iranian military officials.
In connection with his guilty plea, Arbabsiar admitted that, from thespring of 2011 to the fall of 2011, he conspired with officials in theIranian military who were based in Iran to cause the assassination ofthe Saudi Arabian ambassador while the ambassador was in the UnitedStates. Arbabsiar acknowledged that at the direction of theseco-conspirators, he traveled to Mexico on several occasions during 2011in order to arrange the assassination of the ambassador. Arbabsiaradmitted that, with his co-conspirators’ approval, he had arranged tohire a DEA confidential source (CS-1), who claimed to be arepresentative of a drug cartel, and CS-1’s criminal associates, tomurder the ambassador. Arbabsiar further admitted that he agreed to pay$1.5 million to CS-1 and had discussed with CS-1 a plan to murder theambassador at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.–a plan that was approvedby Arbabsiar’s co-conspirators. Arbabsiar then arranged for a $100,000down payment, in two installments, to be wired to CS-1.
Arbabsiar is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2013 and faces a maximum potential sentence of 25 years in prison.
Read the entire FBI press release here.