Canada freezes assets of five Iranians over alleged plot to kill Saudi ambassador (VIDEO)


In this handout photo provided by the Nueces County Sheriff's Department, Manssor Arbab Arbabsiar is seen in this 2001 mug shot. Arbabsiar, along with Gholam Shakuri, was charged October 11, 2011 with plotting to killing the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S. and to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington DC. The U.S. alleges that Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Iran, is linked to the Quds Force, a faction of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.


Nueces County Sheriff's Office

Canada has imposed sanctions on five Iranian nationals accused of plotting to kill a Saudi ambassador to Washington, following in the footsteps of the United States and Britain.

Members of Iran’s covert Quds Force were allegedly behind the scheme to pay a Mexican drug cartel $1.5-million to kill Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir.

U.S. officials announced last week that two men had been charged in the plot: Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and used car dealer living in Texas and arrested in New York in late September; and Ali Gholam Shakuri, said to be a member of a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Both men were charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official as well as a number of other charges.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on Al Jazeera to deny Iran's involvement in any plot, and suggested that Iran and the U.S. were on a diplomatic collision course.

Iran on Tuesday asserted that Shakuri actually belonged to an outlawed and exiled opposition group — the Muhajedeen-Khalq — The New York Times reports, citing Iran's Mehr News Agency

According to the Times:

The agency did not explain the group’s possible motive but left the implication that the plot was a bogus scheme meant to frame and ostracize Iran. 

The other three Iranian nationals accused over the plot are believed to be members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which Washington says supports terrorism around the world, the Toronto Sun reports.

The Canadian Press named them as Qasem Sleimani, Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai.

(GlobalPost reports: Iran ready to "investigate" assassination plot charges)

The Sun reports that the new measures place travel restrictions on the individuals and ban any Canadian having financial dealings with them.

It quotes Foreign Minister John Baird as saying in a statement:

"As the prime minister said last week, this regime in Tehran represents probably the most significant threat to the world, to global peace and security, and I completely agree." 

Baird went on to accuse the Iranian regime of "regularly ignoring their obligations under international law."

"They obfuscate Iran's nuclear activities and they block international attempts to verify the country's claims. They do so while continuing to violate the human rights of Iranian citizens and undermining regional security," he said.

"This foiled plot is yet more proof of the threat posed by the current Iranian regime. Canada will continue to work with its international partners to pressure the regime to change its dangerous ways."

Canada is slapping sanctions on five Iranian nationals accused of plotting to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States.