The Iranian Plot to Kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US--The CJ Angle

It has become public that American investigators have stopped a scheme by Iran to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassaor to the United States. Iranian spokesperson have called the plot an American fabrication while US authorities have vowed to hold Iran accountable. Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized American citizen and Gholam Shakur, a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are accused of conspiring to murder Saudi ambassador Adelal-Jubeir and  to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies in DC as well as those in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While the exact reasons for the targeting of the ambassador are as yet unclear this much is certain:
If it is proven Iran had a hand in the plot they may have not actually broken international law.
Now both the US and Israel have engaged in "targeted killings" using air power against specific persons most notably leaders of Hamas, Hizballah, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. While straddling certain lines at least in American law such actions have been read to be in accordance with Eecutive Order 12333 which bans assassinations by American forces, or paying for or materially aiding such assassinations. And there is a big difference between the two: assassination denotes murder, where targeted killing namely against terrorists, is in self defense and not a crime. Of course there is the ethical consideration that the only difference between the two is the technology. If it's done up close with a gun its assassination, if its done by a Hellfire missile from a
multimillion dollar UAV, its targeted killing. Some consider one legal and one not, others condemn both practices, and still others endorse both. The targeted killing of Al Qaeda in Yemen leader Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen is an example of the United States riding the line. He was killed by a Predator or Reaper drone plane in mid 2011 raising questions about the constitutionality of its use against American citizens without due process. But what Iran proposed to do was plain murder, if not an act of terrorism.
But like any criminal act, especially when talking about murder, the question remains, who stood to gain; and gain what?

Targeted killing is a necessary option, Sofaer, Abraham D., Hoover Institution, March 26, 2004
The entirety of the federal complaint can be read at:
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