Suspect in Saudi plot case belongs to Iran opposition groups

Suspect in Saudi plot case belongs to Iran opposition groups

Iran said one of the two suspects in a US alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington belongs to the outlawed and armed opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) - a terrorist group responsible for the death of thousands of Iranian, Iraqi and western people and officials during the last 5 decades, Fars News Agency reported referring to Mehr News Agency.

Gholam Shakuri, who the US Justice Department claimed to be an operative of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is actually a "key member" of the MKO, MNA reported.

The agency did not explain the group's possible motive but left the implication that the plot was a bogus scheme meant to frame and ostracize Iran.

It said Shakuri, who is at large, had last been seen in Washington and in MKO's main training center in Iraq, Camp Ashraf.

"The person in question has been traveling to different countries under the names of Ali Shakuri/Gholam Shakuri/Gholam-Hussein Shakuri by using fake passports including forged Iranian passports," the report said.

The MKO, also known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and MEK, is regarded by Iran as a violent insurgent organization with a history of assassinations and sabotage aimed at overthrowing the Islamic government that took power in 1979. While the group claims to have renounced violence a decade ago, it is still classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department.

The report said it had learned what it called the new information about Shakuri from Interpol.

The revelation that Shakuri is in fact a member of the opposition group is viewed as an embarrassing turn for the United States, which announced the suspected plot with some fanfare a week ago in a televised news conference by Attorney General Eric. H. Holder Jr., who said American investigators believed high officials in Iran's government were responsible.

The US Justice Department has accused Shakuri and Mansour J. Arbabsiar, a naturalized Iranian-American citizen from Corpus Christi, Tex., of conspiring to hire assassins from a Mexican drug gang for $1.5 million to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.

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