Tag Archives | assassination plot

Iran Charges Shahkuri is Agent of Terrorist MEK

Today the government of Iran charged that one of the men named as a defendant in Iran Plot case is a member of MEK, a terrorist group fighting against the Islamic government that was sheltered by Saddam Hussein in a base in Iraq.

The defendant, Gholam Shakuri, identified by the Justice Department as an operative of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, is actually a “key member” of the Mujahedeen Khalq, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.

The MEK began as an nationalist/Marxist oriented group that fought against the Shah in 1979.  According to Juan Cole:

The People’s Holy Jihadis was one of two prominent guerrilla groups active in Iran in the 1970s against the government of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, the then king and a close US ally. The other was the Fedayan-i Khalq or ‘those who sacrifice themselves for the people,’ a Marxist group. The MEK for its part mixed Islam and Marxism and was headed by the charismatic Massoud Rajavi, to whom members had a fanatic devotion. I remember when I was in Iran in summer, 1976, the newspapers were full of jeremiads about the Islamic Marxists, and I was shown a bombed-out second story apartment in South Tehran, allegedly MEK work.

The MEK later turned to terrorism to fight the new Islamic Republic’s clerical leaders, killing scores of innocent Iranians as well as government officials and earning the condemnation of legitimate opposition movements such as 2009′s Green movement that protested election fraud.  Iran said that international police agency, Interpol, is a seeking Shahkuri.

What about the Al Quds connection?  The FBI charges that Shahkuri is a deputy prominant Al Quds commander Shalai, who has previously been linked to American deaths in Iraq.

 

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Iran Plot: Who is Gholam Shakuri?

On Wednesday, American officials, who say the plot was endorsed by top Iranian authorities, were exploring why the sophisticated Quds Force might have chosen to rely on so amateurish an agent as Mr. Arbabsiar. – New York Times

This sort of says it all.  “exploring why” indeed!  It’s just too ridiculous.

Sometime in the past two years, Mr. Arbabsiar, whose friends called him Jack, began spending time in his native Iran, and investigators say he formed a relationship with members of the Quds Force. But Mr. Hosseini, who last saw his old roommate about two months ago, said Mr. Arbabsiar appeared to be chasing money, not political intrigue.

There’s really only one questions left.  Who is Gholam Shakuri, the alleged Al Quds member behind the plot?

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The Iranian Plot

Yesterday, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of an Iranian American citizen, Mansour J. Arbabsiar, as the central character in a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.  Arbabsiar was the go between a member of the Al Quds division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and what he thought was a Mexican drug cartel which was to supply to assassins.  However, Arbabsiar was actually dealing with an FBI informant and not the Mexican cartel.  The plot was disrupted after the Al Quds member wired $1oo,ooo to a US bank account.

Immediately, independent national security and Iranian experts raised doubts about this plot being carried out by the Iranian government.  First, Iranian intelligence services are highly professional and almost always use proxies so black ops can’t be traced back to the government.  Second, any Iranian spy would know that transferring $100,000 as a ‘down payment’ for the assassination to a US bank account raises an immediate red flag.  Third, using a drug cartel would again be counter to how Iran normally operates.  Fourth, why on US soil?

However, according to Bloomberg:

After he was arrested, Arbabsiar agreed to phone Shakuri in Iran in calls that were monitored, the U.S. said in the criminal complaint. During the calls, Shakuri told Arbabsiar to move forward with the plot “as quickly as possible.”

Shakuri also told Arbabsiar during the call that he would consult with his superiors about whether they would be willing to pay additional money for the hit men.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in regional rivalry with much animosity between them.  But killing the Saudi Ambassador on US soil is not in Iran’s interest – or so it would seem.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government denounced the charges as fabrications made by the US.  Ayatollah Khamenie charged ‘“the corrupted capitalist system shows no mercy to any nation, including the American people.”

UN Ambassador Rice is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the plot today.  There is speculation among those who study Iran that the plot may have been set in motion by a rogue groups in Al Quds acting as a drug cartel within Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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