I agree with Michael Rubin the Obama administration “projecting weakness” gave Iran the impression it could carry out a terror attack this brazen without serious consequences. Assassinations in the U.S. aren’t a new game for Iran, and this particular plot pushed the envelope much further. According to the FBI charges, the plotters weren’t just working to kill the Saudi ambassador; they were planning to blow up an entire restaurant in a populated neighborhood. The ambassador wouldn’t have been the only casualty.
If Iran feels safe planning a U.S.-based attack now, imagine how much more blatant its aggression would be if it had nuclear weapons. Some people like to pretend Israel is the only country that would be seriously threatened by a nuclear Iran. This case is a prime example of how wrong that assumption is.
So far, the Obama administration is handling the plot as a law enforcement issue, even filing charges against an Iran-based member of the Al-Qud’s forces reportedly involved in the alleged attack. Meanwhile, Eric Holder has explicitly pointed a finger at Iran, indicating the administration sees this as a state-sanctioned plot. If that’s the case, taking the law enforcement approach will be a signal to Iran the U.S. will tolerate its belligerence.