Mona Charen

If the Iranian government doesn't frighten you, you haven't been paying attention. The regime in Iran has been killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years and has sworn countless times in the past 30 years to preside over the destruction of the United States. If it wasn't for a lucky break, Washington D.C., this autumn, would have been the scene of a massive explosion detonated at a high-end restaurant, with scores and perhaps hundreds killed and maimed. The principal target of this terror attack was to be the Saudi ambassador to the United States, but as one of the plotters told another during the planning: "They want that guy (the ambassador) done (killed), if the hundred go with him f**k 'em." The FBI suggests that several U.S. senators are also known to frequent the restaurant.

This carnage was only one of several violent attacks Iran was planning to perpetrate on American soil. It seems safe to say that President Obama's outreach to the mullahs is not going well.

Some press reports have stressed the enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia in attempting to explain this flagrant outrage. The U.S. attorney involved in the case, Preet Bharara, also stressed that angle saying, "Today's charges should make crystal clear that we will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground." But that misses a key point. This was an attack on the U.S. as well.

There are Saudi interests all over the globe. It's not an accident that they chose to strike in Washington, D.C. For the terrorists in Tehran, killing a Saudi ambassador in America's capital city would be a blow against two hated enemies at once. The murders would have happened under the noses of the great Satan, thus conveying Iran's contempt for everything we hold dear -- the sanctity of life, the rule of law, international norms regarding diplomacy and even the Geneva Convention, which forbids deliberate attacks on civilians. The criminals who run Iran have a particular fondness for gestures of contempt. Recall that in 1981, they chose to release our diplomats just as Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office -- one last parting slap at Jimmy Carter.

The details of the thwarted attack read like a bad espionage novel. Mansour Arbabsiar, a naturalized American who was born in Iran, served as the middleman in a murder for hire plot. Directed by the Al Quds force, an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Arbabsiar approached a Mexican drug gang and offered them $1.5 million to carry out the attack in Washington. Arbabsiar did not know that his Mexican interlocutor was actually an American informant.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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