One of two men charged in an alleged plot by Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States pleaded not guilty Monday, dpa reported.
Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, a naturalized US citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, wore blue prison garb for the arraignment in federal court in Manhattan, The Wall Street Journal reported online.
His co-defendant, Gholam Shakuri, identified by US justice officials as a member of the Quds Force special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, is still at large.
US justice officials allege that the Iranian operatives engaged a man they thought was a member of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the 1.5-million-dollar assassination plot. The drug dealer, however, turned out to be a US drug enforcement agent who posed as an assassin for hire, and received 100,000 dollars as a down payment for the plot, justice officials said.
Adel A Al-Jubeir is the current Saudi Arabian ambassador. One plan would have involved a bombing at one of his favourite restaurants.