Trial date set for U.S. citizen accused in plot
A U.S. federal court says the trial of Iranian-American Mansour Arbabsiar will be held on October 22.
Arbabsiar, 56, is accused of taking part in an assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
AFP reports that federal Judge John Keenan granted the defense attorney’s request for an extension, allowing eight months.
The United States alleges that the international branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps was involved in the plot and that the whole affair was conducted by high-ranking officials in Iran.
Aaytollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has refuted the allegations, saying: “They are trying to attribute a meaningless and ridiculous charge to a few Iranians and in this way present the Islamic Republic as a supporter of terrorism so that they can target us with a political media arsenal, but this conspiracy has failed and can never succeed.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry also rejected the allegations, saying the charges were a “mere political show”.
Arbabsiar, in his first court appearance last September, denied involvement in the assassination plot.
The United States has also laid charges in this case against Gholam Shakouri, Abdolreza Shahlayi, Hamed Abdolahi and Ghassem Soleymani, four members of the IRGC .
The U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions on these four individuals.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Foreign Minister, has also urged Saudi Arabia not to succumb to U.S. “political games.”