DC Embassy Terror Plot Foiled

7:39 AM, Oct 12, 2011   |    comments
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Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (CBS/AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday a foiled plot by "factions of the Iranian government" to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

"The United States is committed to hold Iran accountable for its actions," Holder told reporters during an afternoon news conference.

Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir has served as Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States since 2007, according to the embassy's website.

Two people, including a member of Iran's special operations unit known as the Quds Force, were charged in New York federal court. Holder said the bomb plot was a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law.

Read the criminal complaint

"We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground," Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at a press conference in Washington with Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, was charged along with Gholam Shakuri, whom authorities said was a Quds Force member.

FBI Director Robert Mueller says many lives could have been lost in the plot to kill the ambassador with bombs in the U.S.

Holder said the U.S. government would be taking unspecified action against the Iranian government as early as Tuesday afternoon. Asked whether the plot was blessed by the top echelons of the Iranian government, Holder said the Justice Department was not making that accusation.

The case, called Operation Red Coalition, started in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a DEA informant wanting a Mexican drug cartel to help with the assassination, a federal law enforcement source told CBS News.

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