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Arbabsiar Held Without Bail in Alleged Plot to Kill Envoy

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Manssor Arbabsiar, one of two men accused of plotting to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., was ordered held without bail after his initial court appearance in Manhattan federal court.

Arbabsiar, 56, will plead not guilty, his court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff said after court.

Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger ordered Arbabsiar held in U.S. custody and approved Shroff’s request that her client receive medical attention.

The Justice Department earlier today accused Iran of sponsoring a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a conspiracy involving a secret Iranian military unit and a citizen of the Islamic Republic with a U.S. passport.

Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, in this case plastic explosives, to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the U.S. in a plan hatched this year. Targets included “foreign government facilities associated with Saudi Arabia and with another country,” the U.S. said in a criminal complaint.

While Shakuri remains at large, Arbabsiar was arrested Sept. 29 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

If convicted of all charges, Arbabsiar faces as long as life in prison.

To contact the reporters on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York federal court at pathurtado@bloomberg.net and Bob Van Voris in New York federal court at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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