At a White House press conference Thursday, President Barack Obama said his administration would make Iran "pay a price" for an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. He described it as "part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government." In the same remarks, Obama stressed that his administration will not "take any options off the table in terms of how we operate with Iran," a phrase that is universally understood as a threat of US military aggression.
The remarks signaled Washington's decision to utilize this bizarre incident, about which there are far more questions than answers, as a pretext for escalating tension with Iran to the point of saber-rattling threats of war.
The more that emerges about the purported Iranian "terrorist plot" to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, the more it appears to be a crude concoction by elements of the American state apparatus to blackguard Iran and create the pretext for an escalation of US aggression.
Even the media, outside of the inevitable hyper-ventilating by CNN and Fox News, has taken a skeptical view of the allegations of the White House and the US Justice Department. For example, the Financial Times editorialized: "It is far from clear, however, that the plot enjoyed the backing of the Iranian regime. Indeed, there are reasons to be skeptical that it did." To put it bluntly, nothing about it makes any sense.
The administration has been compelled to note the wild character of its allegations. FBI Director Robert Mueller said the Justice Department indictment "reads like the pages of a Hollywood script." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to the improbable connections in the case, with Iran's secret service supposedly asking Los Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, to carry out the assassination as a paid hit, only to find itself dealing with a Drug Enforcement Agency informant. "Nobody could make that up, right?" she asked rhetorically.
As a matter of fact, they can and they have. Paid FBI informants posing as terrorists entrapped the so-called Liberty City Seven in Miami in a fabricated plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. There was the case of the Newburgh Four, in which a veteran FBI agent-provocateur, offering large amounts of cash, entrapped four young African-American men in a plot to put explosives in New York area synagogues. Like dozens of such incidents, these plots never involved any real threat and would never have existed without government agents creating them as part of the phony "war on terrorism."
In the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, the supposed "mastermind" of the conspiracy is one Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American failed used car dealer from Texas. He was previously arrested for passing bad checks, and college associates recall him as being hostile to the Iranian regime. That Iran's Quds Force, considered by most analysts to be one of the world's more professional covert agencies, would entrust what ostensibly would have been the first act of Iranian terrorism on US soil to such an individual is preposterous on its face.
The most plausible explanation for this unlikely set of circumstances is that Mr. Arbabsiar became entrapped in a drug deal by US agents, who then made him the lynchpin of a US frame-up of Iran on terror charges.