That Strange Iran Plot (Updated)

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/10/that-strange-iran-plot-updated/246641/