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EU imposes sanctions on alleged assassination conspirators

Source: Radio Zamaneh

The European Union has imposed sanctions on five Iranians for alleged involvement in the "assassination plot" against Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Reuters reports that the sanctions include travel restrictions and the freezing of all of their assets in EU banks.

Mansour Arbabsiar, the prime suspect in the alleged plot, who is currently in U.S. custody, is one of the people blacklisted. U.S. officials claim that Arbabsiar, an Iranian who also holds U.S. citizenship, has confessed to attempting to arrange a $1.5-million plot to assassinate Al-Jubeir.

In addition, Gholam Shakouri, another Iranian and allegedly a member of Iran's Quds Force, has been indicted by U.S. authorities for involvement in the alleged plot.

The other people blacklisted by the EU are Ghassem Soleymani, Hamed Abdolahi and Reza Shahlayi, who are also named as members of the Quds Force, the international arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Force.

While the U.S. has accused Iranian authorities of initiating the plot, Iran insists that the charges are "a political and media show" to distract attention from American economic woes and the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Manssor Arbabsiar pictured in a mugshot from a 2001 arrest for theft
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Iran's intelligence minister slams assassination plot allegations

Iran's intelligence minister says the United States offered U.S. citizenship to Mansour Arbabsiar to ensure his cooperation in accusing Iran for plotting the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.

Heydar Moslehi said statements from Arbabsiar's ex-wife and friends attest to his weak character and reveal that even the weakest intelligence service in the world would not engage the services of such a person.

Arbabsiar, 54, is now in U.S. custody, accused of trying to hire an assassin for a plot against the Saudi ambassador in the U.S. The U.S. authorities claim he was engaged by the Quds force, the international arm of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, to do so.

Moslehi added that Arbabsiar had been in the United States for more than 20 years and had received his citizenship eight months ago. He went on to allege that Arbabsiar probably agreed to collaborate with the American intelligence services in return for his residency permit.

In reference to the details in the indictment aimed at linking the allegations to the Quds Force and Iranian authorities, Moslehi insisted that no professional intelligence agency would issue an order to an agent in a foreign country over the phone or transfer money to a drug cartel through a New York bank.

Iran has denied any links to Mansour Arbabsiar, and the Iranian president has accused the U.S. of using the allegations to divert attention from its economic woes and the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

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