Saudi court indicts two Iranians

New York: Two Iranian men have been indicted by a grand jury here on charges they plotted to hire hit men from a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington using "weapons of mass destruction".

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said a five-count criminal indictment has been filed against Manssor Arbabsiar, 56 who would be arraigned in court on October 24 when he is expected to enter a plea. His co-defendant, Gholam Shakuri, remains at large.

The charges in the indictment mirror those that were alleged in the criminal complaint filed on October 11 that said the two conspired to murder a foreign official, conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction and to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries.

The case has been assigned to US District Judge John Keenan of the Southern District of New York. According to the indictment, Arbabsiar and Shakuri conspired to "kill the Ambassador to the United States of Saudi Arabia, while the Ambassador was in the United States". The plot, allegedly directed by elements of the Iranian government, involved bombing a restaurant in the US that Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir frequented.