Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Fifth Column.

American gets 25 years behind bars in plot with Iranian to kill DC-based Saudi Arabian diplo

A used-car salesman was sentenced today to 25 years in the slammer for scheming with Iranian military officials to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US by blowing up a Washington, DC restaurant.
Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen from Iran, showed no emotion as he was slapped with the maximum punishment for the terror plot, which he believed would have killed up to 150 people, including US senators.
Manhattan federal Judge John Keenan said Arbabsiar, 58, didn't deserve any mercy after getting caught saying that the planned massacre was "no big deal."
Manssor Arbabsiar
Keenan also noted: "In a case like this, deterrence is of supreme importance."
"Others who might have financial or political purposes to engage in acts of violence against the United States or its interests must learn the lesson that such conduct will not be tolerated," he said.
Arbabsiar was busted in 2011 after hiring someone he thought was a hitman for the Zetas Mexican drug cartel to carry out the attack for $1.5 million.
But the purported hitman — who met with Arbabsiar several times in Mexico -- was actually a confidential source for the DEA.
A co-defendant in the case — Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran’s elite Quds Force that the feds say sponsors overseas terrorism — remains at large.
Prosecutor Glen Kopp called the plot an "extraordinary crime" in which Arbabsiar "worked for six months to assassinate a foreign diplomat on American soil with knowledge of the mass carnage that could result."
Public defender Sabrina Shroff, who asked for no more than a 10-year sentence, noted that Arbabsiar had no criminal record and provided what an FBI agent termed "a lot of intelligence" during 12 days of cooperation after his arrest.
Arbabsiar told the judge that he accepted responsibility for "what I did wrong," but insisted: "I have a good heart. I never hurt anyone."
Arbabsiar — who was diagnosed by a defense shrink with bi-polar disorder — also said: "My mind sometimes is not in a good place and it runs ahead of me. It goes faster than myself."
In addition to the prison time, Arbabsiar was ordered to forfeit $125,000, covering nearly $100,000 he sent as a down payment for the attack, and another $25,000 in expense money he admitted getting from Iran.

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