The “Fast And Furious” Used Car Salesman “Threat” Falls Apart
The failed used car salesman Mansour J. Arbabsiar, who is accused in the “Iran kills Saudi ambassador” movie plot, is a hapless idiot and petty criminal whose businesses deals always went wrong. He couldn’t even match his socks, smoked marihuana and drank a lot of alcohol, was nonreligious, an opponent of the Iranian regime and only cared about money. A business man who knows him calls him “worthless” and his neighbors believed he was dealing in drugs.
But Arbabsiar had some money through inherited land holdings in Iran. Those holdings may well be the source of the $100,000 wired from Iran to the Drug Enforcement Administration informant. Israel’s Mossad, the MEK cult or some drug dealers in Iran are other possible sources for the money.
The Obama administration insists that it has proof of Iranian government involvement in the assassination plot. Some anonymous officials though are already walking back that claim. It seems that they have no proof at all, just a hunch.
Every Iran expert interviewed thinks the story as presented is nonsense: Alireza Nader from Rand Corp, Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service, former CIA agent Robert Baer, Carter era NSC official Gary Sicks, Bush 2 NSC official Hillary Mann Leverett (also here), Muhammad Sahimi of PBS/Tehran Bureau and Iran scholar Hamid Serri.
To me the indictment reads as if a nutty Mansour J. Arbabsiar attempted a drug deal which was then turned into a terrorism entrapment by and through the paid criminal Drug Enforcement Administration informant.
The Obama administration seems to use this case for three purposes:
- Diversion from the subpoena to AG Holder in the Fast and Furious gun running case which was served yesterday, from the #OccupyWallStreet movement and the general economic malaise
- To get some momentum for additional international sanctions on Iran
- To prop up the connections with the Saudi regime as it had threatened to distance itself from the U.S. over the U.S. veto of a Palestinian state
The administration’s case for the “plot” is now falling apart. Yesterday’s hype in the media has by now been replaced with doubts and mistrust. Given the obvious weakness of the case this was predictable.
But why then did the Obama administration use this case at all? Why come up with such a weak case that was sure to make it a laughing stock?