Iranian Terror Mastermind Likely Wanted Drug Deal, Not Murder – OpEd


Gareth Porter published an important story about the alleged Iran terror plot.  In it he notes that nowhere in the Justice Department criminal complaint does it say that Arbabsiar ever agreed to assassinate anyone.  In fact, it is the DEA agent who repeatedly attempts to introduce and re-introduce the notion of perpetrating an act of terror.  At no point do the charges say the Iranian ever suggested this or agreed to it.

Porter says that what’s much more likely is that the alleged terror suspect was first drawn into the web by the prospect of doing a drug deal:

On May 24, when Arbabsiar first met with the DEA informant he thought was part of a Mexican drug cartel, it was not to hire a hit squad to kill the ambassador. Rather, there is reason to believe that the main purpose was to arrange a deal to sell large amounts of opium from Afghanistan.

…Three Bloomberg reporters, citing a “federal law enforcement official”, wrote that Arbabsiar told the DEA informant he represented Iranians who “controlled drug smuggling and could provide tons of opium”.

In fact, in today’s NY Times a reporter interviewed neighbors who noted that young people entered and exited the suspect’s house at all hours of the day and night.  It made them think that drugs were being dealt there.

The IPS reporter notes that the IRG controls a huge volume of drug trafficking in nearby Afghanistan and that they have begun to ship heroin around the world including to Mexican drug cartels.  It appears that the paid DEA informant, himself a drug dealer, first approached Arbabsiar not about an act of terror, but about a drug deal.  The Iranian was only, as far as the records show, interested in doing a drug deal.  He listened to the tales of the DEA agent only because he was being strung along to believe there was a drug deal in the making:

…The absence of any statement attributed to Arbabsiar imply that the Iranian- American said nothing about assassinating the Saudi ambassador except in response to suggestions by the informant, who was already part of an FBI undercover operation.

…Not a single quote from Arbabsiar shows that he agreed to assassinating the ambassador, much less proposed it, suggest[ing] that he was either non-committal or linking the issue to something else, such as the prospect of a major drug deal with the cartel.

Interestingly, the FBI complaint doesn’t mention any discussion about drugs.  I wonder why?

This is not only entrapment, it is the government lying about the basic nature of the case.  Manssor Arbabsiar appears to be a wannabe Texas drug dealer who had connections holding product via his cousin, who may or may not be affiliated with the IRG.  That the IRG deals in drugs I have no doubt.  But the claim that the IRG plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador or anyone remains about the lamest claim ever to come out of the Obama administration.

I feel a real sense of betrayal regarding Obama.  I expected crap like this from Bush and Cheney.  You knew they were going to cheat and lie to advance their political agenda.  But Obama?  Why?  Why does he need to do this?  What does he gain by this even if half of the charges are true (which I’m convinced they’re not)?  He gets new sanctions against Iran?  Big deal?  Maybe he even uses this to forestall an Israeli attack on Iran.  But why risk a huge black eye if the case goes to s(^t as it appears it will?  Where are those killer political instincts we thought we saw during the presidential election campaign?  Abandoned him, it appears.


This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

One thought on “Iranian Terror Mastermind Likely Wanted Drug Deal, Not Murder – OpEd

  • October 24, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Whether this is all a hoax or not, it seems unlikely that Obama would be in on it. His foreign policy rhetoric has always concentrated on a preference for diplomacy over military might, and his stance on boarder control is equally liberal. An assassination attempt on US soil BY Iran THROUGH Mexican drug lords makes a perfect argument against both of these positions. Really, if true, this entire situation could be seen as a boon to the more hawkish Republican party.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole situation wasn’t some sort of mistake. It’s such a bogus sounding story, I can’t believe any serious member of the top brass of any government institution would make it up on purpose. Gareth Porter mentions that there is a possibility that Arbabsiar is an informant. Perhaps a massive miscommunication goofup related to witness protection has created the most elaborate media-sht-storm ever.

    I’d actually be interested in knowing how you feel about this. Please tell me more about why you think Obama would be in on this.


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