State: Suspect could get consular access

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The suspect in the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States could access his consulate, the U.S. State Department said.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said officials don't necessarily think the suspect, Manssor Arbabsiar, is entitled to consular visits because he holds dual citizenship, but the agency has encouraged officials to allow such visits in similar instances.


"[When] an individual possessing U.S. citizenship and that of another country is arrested or detained in the U.S., the State Department has long urged responsible authorities to permit … visits by consular officers of the other country or nationality, in this case Iran," Toner said during a media briefing Monday. "So we would obviously lobby for that or talk to local authorities to encourage them to allow those visits."

Toner said he didn't know that the State Department "physically" received a note from Iran's Foreign Ministry -- sent to the United States through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran because there are no U.S.-Iran diplomatic ties -- expressing an interest in reviewing the documents and evidence in the matter.

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"I think we've been in touch with the Iranians on this," Toner said. "We haven't received a constructive response. We'll wait until we physically see this note to make a decision about [this matter] further."


Toner noted that the United States hasn't received "a very constructive response" from Iran since the matter first came to light.

The charges already are public and one defendant -- an active official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- remains at large, Toner said. The International Convention on Protected Persons provides that Iran's government "has a choice either to extradite this person, this individual, or submit the case for prosecution on its own," Toner said.

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