King, McCaul, Meehan Letter to President Obama on Iran's Assassination Plot
November 22, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We write to seek a strong and effective response to Iran’s plot to assassinate the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States in Washington, DC.
On October 11, 2011 a grand jury indicted two men for plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on behalf of the Iranian Government. According to the Complaint in United States v. Arbabsiar, Iran sought out Mexican drug cartels to commit murder for hire in the US. Gholam Shakuri, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and other Iranian Government officials agreed to pay $1.5 million to a drug cartel to carry out the assassination.
In order to examine the ramifications of this brazen plot, on October 26, 2011 the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management held a joint hearing, Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil. We learned that the attempted assassination was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Government of Iran. In addition, expert witnesses confirmed Iran’s capability and intent to harm our homeland security. Based on received testimony, we believe it essential to send Iran a clear message: the US will not tolerate attempts to commit acts of terror in our Homeland.
Unfortunately, a myriad US and international sanctions enacted since 1979 have failed to effectively deter Iran’s actions and thwart Iranian intransigence. Iran continues to pursue an illicit nuclear weapons program and maintains its role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, by use of the IRGC and its proxy Hezbollah. Iran now seeks to expand its influence throughout the Western Hemisphere, most notably in Venezuela, and including the United States. Since 2004, Iran has opened six embassies in Latin America to project diplomatic power and increase intelligence operations in the United States’ backyard.
Iran’s latest plot to use a Mexican drug cartel to conduct an assassination in Washington, that would inevitably kill innocent Americans, indicates that Iran’s leaders feel emboldened by what they perceive as American weakness, and fear no negative consequences for their increasingly provocative actions.
We believe a clear response from the US Government is necessary. To prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and from further expansion of its terror operations, all options must be left on the table --including military action. The United States must use all elements of national power against our strategic enemy, the Iranian regime.
We respectfully urge you to:
- Enforce sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank;
- Expel Iranian spies and terrorists, and Hezbollah operatives, from the US;
- Designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization;
- Use significant covert action against the Iranian regime, including against facilities and personnel responsible for killing our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq;
- Conduct cyber operations against the Iranian regime; and
- Support democratic resistance movements in Iran.
The United States must show Iran that there are serious consequences to state-sponsored terror plots on American soil. As our commander-in-chief, we stand ready to support you in Congress. We look forward to your firm response to a planned act of war against the US Homeland.
PETER T. KING
Committee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence