Heydar Moslehi

Iran’s intelligence minister says the United States offered U.S. citizenship to Mansour Arbabsiar to ensure his cooperation in accusing Iran for plotting the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.

Heydar Moslehi said statements from Arbabsiar’s ex-wife and friends attest to his weak character and reveal that even the weakest intelligence service in the world would not engage the services of such a person.

Arbabsiar, 54, is now in U.S. custody, accused of trying to hire an assassin for a plot against the Saudi ambassador in the U.S. The U.S. authorities claim he was engaged by the Quds force, the international arm of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, to do so.

Moslehi added that Arbabsiar had been in the United States for more than 20 years and had received his citizenship eight months ago. He went on to allege that Arbabsiar probably agreed to collaborate with the American intelligence services in return for his residency permit.

In reference to the details in the indictment aimed at linking the allegations to the Quds Force and Iranian authorities, Moslehi insisted that no professional intelligence agency would issue an order to an agent in a foreign country over the phone or transfer money to a drug cartel through a New York bank.

Iran has denied any links to Mansour Arbabsiar, and the Iranian president has accused the U.S. of using the allegations to divert attention from its economic woes and the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.