Opinion Brief

Iran's 'chilling' assassination plot: Time to get tougher with Tehran?

Washington accuses Tehran of trying to hire Mexican drug-mafia killers to murder Saudi Arabia's ambassador on U.S. soil — as strange as that sounds

The Justice Department and the FBI said on Tuesday that they had foiled a "chilling" Iranian plot to either hire Mexican drug-cartel hitmen to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador on American soil, or bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden called the alleged scheme "an outrageous act," and said the Obama administration would unite the world against Tehran and possibly impose new sanctions. Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, said the accusations were fraudulent, and part of a "childish game" to divert attention from America's problems. Is this alleged plot evidence that the threat from Iran is getting out of control?

The U.S. can't let this one go: The Iranian military's threats against the U.S. are getting "more direct" every day, says Ali Alfoneh at CNN. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, whose foreign arm Washington accuses of masterminding the terror plot, has already openly threatened suicide attacks against Saudi Arabia if it doesn't remove its troops from Bahrain. Washington has to make the Islamic Republic "pay a price for its adventurist policies," or next time we might not be so lucky."Iran's provocative rhetoric"

Actually, it's comforting to think Iran is this clueless: Trying to hire Mexican narcos to assassinate the Saudi ambassador would be diabolical, but "fairly stupid," says Tim Padgett at TIME. The Zeta drug mafia, which Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar allegedly thought he was dealing with on behalf of Tehran, is "certainly Mexico's most bloodthirsty" gang. But the Zetas would never cross the border and "invite the kind of U.S. law enforcement heat" this plot would have brought down. This just shows how out of touch "the clueless big shots in Tehran" are."Hiring narcos to murder the Saudi ambassador? If it's true, Tehran is pretty dumb"

Regardless, this proves we can't tolerate a nuclear Iran: "Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, have an extensive network in the United States," says Ryan Mauro at Front Page. They're more of a threat on U.S. soil than al Qaeda. That's why, above all else, this plot underscores why the U.S. can't let Iran acquire nuclear weapons. If Tehran will try to strike on American soil now, just think how far it will go once it has "the protection of a nuclear arsenal.""Thwarting Iran's chilling terror plot"

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