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Iran rejects American’s guilty plea in Saudi assasination plot

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Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday rejected a guilty plea by an Iranian-American man that he conspired with Iranian officials to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Manssor Arbabsiar pleaded guilty on Wednesday at the New York federal court to attempting to hire a Mexican drug gang for $1.5 million to blow up the Saudi envoy in a restaurant he frequented in Washington.

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But Iran’s foreign ministry questioned the plea and rejected the notion that “any Iranian organisation” had any role in the plot.

“Pleading guilty after initial denial and a year (in custody) is a sign of psychological pressure and the abnormal situation of US jails and solitary confinement there,” its spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement reported by the state broadcaster’s website.

“This ridiculous scenario was designed by American officials a year ago while the man arrested denied all charges. Some (non-American) officials and political pundits have said it is unreal and likened it to a Hollywood scenario,” he said.

Mehmanparast also condemned what he called “the misuse of the judicial system and designing absurd and baseless plots in the current political state in the US,” without elaborating.

The claim that Iranian officials were involved in the plot was made in October last year, and the United States said it traced the supposed plan to the Quds Force, a special operations unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

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Arbabsiar, a former car salesman, was arrested in September last year at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and was charged along with co-defendant Gholam Shakuri, a senior Quds Force member who remains at large.

Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in the plot, which strained already frayed relations with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia.

In a largely symbolic vote last November, the UN General Assembly demanded that Iran cooperate with the US investigation into the plot.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Trump’s commutation of Stone is an admission of guilt: former US Attorney

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Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance explained that President Donald Trump's commutation of Roger Stone proves his own guilt.

Writing for USA Today Tuesday, Vance explained that Trump had always hinted about a pardon for Stone, but it wasn't one, it was a commutation, because Stone didn't want to admit guilt for his role in the Russia scandal. Still, his conviction will stand, Vance explained, and Stone can return to the battle for his friend's political career. It might be a win for Stone and Trump but it's terrible for the rule of law, she explained.

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US executes first federal prisoner since 2003, relatives of man’s victims disavow execution

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The federal government on Tuesday carried out its first execution in almost two decades, killing by lethal injection a man convicted of murdering an Arkansas family in a 1990s plot to build a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest.

The execution of Daniel Lewis Lee came over the objection of the victims’ relatives and following days of legal wrangling and delays.

Lee, 47, of Yukon, Oklahoma, professed his innocence just before he was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

“I didn’t do it," Lee said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer.”

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California man charged with running over Black dad after son calls for help in racist attack

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A California man was arrested after running over a Black father during a racist attack in a hotel parking lot.

Dennis Aaron Wyman allegedly hurled racial slurs against a small group of Black young adults late June 29 at the Staybridge Suites in Torrance, and one 23-year-old called his father -- who was working as an armed security guard nearby -- as tensions grew during the encounter, reported the Daily Breeze.

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