Iranian Terrorists On US Soil – For Real?

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 12 2011 @ 10:38am

AG Holder alleges Iranian special operatives planned to bomb Saudi and Israeli targets in Washington, DC. Steve Clemons demands a response:

This is a serious situation — and this kind of assassination is the sort that could lead to an unexpected cascade of events that could draw the US and other powers into a consequential conflagration in the Middle East. If Iran was indeed willing to attack a Saudi Ambassador and close confidante of the Saudi King on US soil and countenance the death of 100-150 Americans, then the US has reached a point where it must take action.

Josh Rogin thinks we will be seeing one. Michael Rubin, bizarrely, blames Obama “projecting weakness” for the plot, though he also has a substantive take on who in the Iranian government might have been responsible for it. An Iranian reader close to the Green Movement is skeptical about the whole thing:

As you know this is a huge story with long term implications for US-Iran relations and possibly a turning point that could put the two countries on a collision course. But can it be true? There are lots of credible voices tonight raising red flags about jumping on the bandwagon. If, as the US government claims, they were trying to attack a restaurant where the Saudi ambassador frequented and had actually succeeded in killing him and possibly a few other Americans, that would have been considered an act of war by Iran. Now, I can’t think of one “sane” Iran expert who can look you straight in the eye and say the Iranians (or any of its elements) really want a war with US! 

In other words: what would the Iranian government gain from hitting the Saudi Ambo in DC? Nothing other than providing the excuse to AIPAC and neocons to push for a military attack! If Iran wants to hit its rival in the region, there are plenty of targets there, so why on earth would they do it on US soil? And why would they get some amateur 56-year-old Iranian who has been living in small town Texas for 30 years (with an American wife) to contact a Mexican Cartel on his own!!? Just sounds fishy.

It does a little. But this could be a rogue element in the Quds force. Or some function of Iranian factional politics. I would note, however, that leading nuclear scientists in Iran have also been assassinated in their cars by foreign agents, almost certainly the CIA or Mossad. But targeting a Saudi in Washington, a third country? Surreal.