That Strange Iran Plot (Updated)

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I haven't posted on the Iran plot yet -- you know, the Quds-Force-Hires-a-Loser-Who-Hires-Make-Believe-Mexican-Gangsters-to-Kill-a-Not-So-Important-Saudi plot -- because I simply don't know what to make of it. It might very well turn out just as the Justice Department has alleged, but it seems so odd to me -- the Iranians, we know from experience (the Argentina bombings in the 1990s in particular) are pretty good at this sort of thing, and this operation seems terribly goofy. Maybe the Iranians are desperate; maybe one hand doesn't know what the other is doing; or maybe this isn't actually something plotted at a high level at all. I don't know, though, and I think it's prudent to limit my speculating until I can figure this out.

UPDATE: President Obama sounds very sure this is a serious, Iranian-government directed plot:

In his first public remarks on the issue since it was revealed on Tuesday, Mr. Obama sought to counter skepticism about whether Iran's Islamic government directed an Iranian-American car salesman to engage with a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and carry out other attacks. Mr. Obama insisted that American officials "know that he had direct links, was paid by, and directed by individuals in the Iranian government."

"Now those facts are there for all to see," Mr. Obama said. "We would not be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the allegations that are contained in the indictment."
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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