Mansour Arbabsiar once denied that he participated in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Now he says he did.
Arbabsiar, a 57-year-old Iranian-American man from Texas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington, D.C., restaurant while Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined there.
Arbabsiar, who was arrested in September 2011 after an undercover informant's tip to authorities, said in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday that he conspired with members of the Iranian military in the formulation of the plot. The admission comes nearly a year after he pleaded not guilty.
Federal authorities say Arbabsiar and cohorts hired someone they thought was a cartel contact to assassinate the ambassador, but the contact was an undercover government informant who kept in contact with Arbabsiar until there was enough evidence for his arrest, according to federal court documents.
Arbabsiar is scheduled to be sentenced in January. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year dismissed allegations that Iran was connected to the plot.