Iran General NewsCanada train plot suspect traveled to Iran: U.S. officials

Canada train plot suspect traveled to Iran: U.S. officials

-

Reuters: Investigators believe one of two suspects charged in Canada with plotting to blow up a railroad track carrying passenger trains traveled to Iran within the past two years, U.S. law enforcement and national security officials said on Thursday. By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Investigators believe one of two suspects charged in Canada with plotting to blow up a railroad track carrying passenger trains traveled to Iran within the past two years, U.S. law enforcement and national security officials said on Thursday.

Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian-born doctoral student, traveled to Iran on a trip that was directly relevant to the investigation of the alleged plot, the officials said.

They declined to say precisely when Esseghaier, who appeared in court on Wednesday in Toronto, had traveled to Iran, whether he had gone there more than once, or whom he was in contact with while there.

When they announced the arrest of Esseghaier and his alleged co-conspirator, Raed Jaser, this week, Canadian police said the two men had received “direction and guidance” in the plot from “al Qaeda elements in Iran.”

U.S. national security sources close to the investigation said that was a reference to a network of low- to middle-level al Qaeda fixers and “facilitators” based in the town of Zahedan, close to Iran’s borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, that moves money and fighters through Iran to support its activities in South Asia.

Canadian police say there is no sign of Iranian government involvement with the suspects.

Neither Canadian nor U.S. officials have said precisely what interactions they believe Esseghaier or his co-defendant engaged in with the alleged al Qaeda network in Iran. Canadian officials have disclosed only minimal details of the alleged Iran connection in public statements.

Esseghaier and Jaser were arrested on Monday after a joint Canada-U.S. investigation that started last year, based on a tip from a member of the Muslim community.

The pair are charged with plotting to derail a passenger train. U.S. officials said the suspects discussed blowing up a trestle on the railway line carrying daily Amtrak trains between Toronto and New York City shortly before the train was scheduled to pass over the track, thus derailing it.

Esseghaier, 30, has been a doctoral student since 2010 at the INRS institute near Montreal where he is researching the use of nanotechnology to detect cancer and other diseases. In his court appearance, he disputed the authority of Canadian law to judge him, saying the criminal code was not a holy book.

The lawyer for Jaser, 35, said he denied the charges against him and would fight them vigorously.

U.S. law enforcement and national security officials said U.S. and Canadian agencies were investigating whether the suspects had accomplices in the United States or Canada.

One official said there was “another shoe to drop” in the case. Canada’s National Post newspaper reported on Thursday that the FBI was holding a third man in New York.

A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said his service was not granting interviews about the case. The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

Latest news

Iran’s Unsolvable Air Pollution Problem

Air pollution will remain at dangerous levels and will increase for the next few days in most big cities,...

The World Must Acknowledge the Iranian People’s Right to Self-defense

Victor Hugo once said: “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” Throughout history, this has been the...

Iran: 60% Of Population Is Poor

The livelihood baskets of the Iranian people are shrinking dramatically. This, in turn, has introduced new concerns to protect...

The implications of EU’s terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)

The European Parliament called on January 18 for the European Union to list Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a...

Iran’s Regime Is Hiding Human Rights Violations In Its Prisons

With more than four months into Iran’s latest round of nationwide uprisings, the brutality of the Iranian regime’s security...

How Internet Censorship Is Damaging Iran’s Economy

While in the last four months, internet access in Iran has been cut off or severely limited, the regime’s...

Must read

European Commission: Iran must reverse nuclear trend

Iran Focus: London, Oct. 13 – The European Commissioner...

Student activist arrested at home in Iran capital

Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jun. 23 – Iran’s State...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you