Good Reads: Dissecting Iran assassination plot, a broken America, and Qatar's rise (video)
Newspapers are picking holes in an alleged Iranian assassination plot against a Saudi diplomat, while George Packer offers up a sharp analysis of a US that can upgrade its iPhones but can't fix its bridges. And what's up with Qatar?
Good Reads highlights the best reporting and analysis available on the top international stories of the day – and other key topics you shouldn't miss.Skip to next paragraph
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Hiring a used-car salesman to organize a hit against a Saudi ambassador on US soil? What was Iran thinking?
Allegations were filed against Mansour Arbabsiar, a Corpus Christi, Texas-based used car salesman with both US and Iranian passports, early this week by US Justice Department Secretary Eric Holder. But Skepticism on them is growing in US newspapers.
Just what would Iran gain in killing the Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir? To all appearances, nothing but trouble.
IN PICTURES: Iran's anti-Americanism
One, it would have elicited a strong response from the US and possibly military retaliation from the Saudis.
Two, if Iran is trying to create a nuclear program and to build up relations with non-Western partners, then launching a splashy assassination in Washington that almost guarantees international condemnation and economic sanctions is probably not going to further that goal.
"When you look at Iranian use of terrorism, it has some very specific objectives, whether it's countering the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan, or retaliating against perceived Israeli actions," says Mr. Nader.
"This [plot] doesn't seem to serve Iran's interests in any conceivable way," says Nader. "Assassinating the Saudi ambassador would increase international pressure against Iran, could be considered an act of war ... by Saudi Arabia, it could really destabilize the government in Iran; and this is a political system that is interested in its own survival."
Related video: Monitor staff writer Scott Peterson discusses Iran's regional influence