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Assassination Plot Was So Clumsy, Officials at First Doubted Iran’s Role

By Joby Warrick and and Thomas Erdbrink
The Washington Post

The straight-out-of-pulp-fiction plot by alleged Iranian operatives to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington was so badly bungled that investigators initially were skeptical that Iran’s government was behind it, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Officials laying out the details of the case owned up to their early doubts about an Iranian role as they sought to counter skepticism and confusion about the unusual scheme — one that happens to carry far-reaching international consequences.

Less than 24 hours after disclosing the disruption of the alleged plot, the Obama administration spent much of Wednesday outlining the evidence, not only to journalists but also to international allies and members of Congress. In briefings and phone calls, U.S. officials sought to explain how Iran’s vaunted Quds Force allegedly ended up enlisting a used-car salesman and a Mexican drug gang in a plan to kill Saudi Arabia’s U.S. ambassador and blow up embassies in Washington and Buenos Aires.

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