Two men originally from Iran – one a naturalised US citizen – have been charged with counts of conspiracy, Attorney General Eric Holder said.
The plot was “conceived” in Iran by the Quds force, part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, he added.
The state department has listed Iran as a “state sponsor” of terror since 1984.
The two men allegedly linked to the plot were named as Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalised US citizen with dual Iranian and US passports, and Gholam Shakuri, based in Iran and said to be a member of Iran’s Quds Force.
Mr Arbabsiar was arrested in September, Mr Holder said, but Mr Shakuri remains in Iran.
They have been charged with a series of conspiracy charges over alleged plans to kill the Saudi ambassador.
Mr Arbabsiar, who is due to appear in court in New York on Tuesday, faces a potential life prison sentence if convicted on all charges, the Department of Justice said.
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