EU sanctions 5 men suspected in plot to kill Saudi ambassador

Story highlights

  • European Council adopts restrictions against five men in the Saudi plot
  • European Union foreign policy chief says move is aimed at "combating terrorism"
  • Britain also has frozen assets of five accused in plot to kill Saudi envoy to the U.S.
The European Council said Friday that it had adopted new restrictions against five people connected to an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and that it will freeze their financial assets within the European Union.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the move was a precautionary measure aimed at "combating terrorism."
Member countries are expected to provide the "widest possible assistance with respect to enquiries related to these individuals," according to a council statement.
The men charged are Manssor Arbabsiar, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The alleged scheme was allegedly directed by the Quds Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The three others are Qasem Soleimani, Abdul Shahlai and Hamed Abdollahi. U.S. officials have called them "high-ranking" members of the Quds Force.
Britain also froze assets of the five men this week.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has called the assassination-for-hire accusations baseless.
Authorities developed the case against the suspects with the help of an undercover informant posing as an associate of a Mexican drug cartel, according to officials and an FBI agent's affidavit released last week.
Arbabsiar and the informant allegedly discussed using explosives to kill Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador, possibly in a crowded restaurant, according to the affidavit.
The informant named $1.5 million as his price, it said. Arbabsiar allegedly sent $100,000 intended as a down payment, telling the informant his "cousin" had deep pockets, court documents said.