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Iranian plot: International media dig for an explanation

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Khamenei's involvement would be surprising, to say the least. Throughout his tenure – since the death of the Islamic republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei in 1989 – he has shown himself to be highly cautious and devoted to entrenching the power of the clerical regime.

Another possibility is that Ayatollah Khamenei crafted the plot to provoke an attack on Iran by a foreign country, allowing him to shore up domestic support – but threats to his power are few right now, according to the Guardian. And it doesn't even make sense for QF to be behind it either, the Guardian piece argues; the plot was simply too sloppy for the group. Or perhaps it is a rogue operation, and that's why it wasn't as water-tight an operation as normally seen from the QF, which wouldn't be caught transferring money for the plot into US accounts, for instance.

Robert Baer, a former CIA agent with long experience of observing the QF, said: "This stinks to holy hell. The Quds Force are very good. They don't sit down with people they don't know and make a plot. They use proxies and they are professional about it. If [QF head] Kassim Suleimani was coming after you or me, we would be dead. This is totally uncharacteristic of them."

In the Telegraph, which stands right-of-center, the newspaper's foreign editor writes that the plot shows who the true US enemy is in the region and that President Barack Obama's Iran policy should reflect that.

For much of his presidency Mr Obama has sought to pursue a policy of reconciliation with Iran, in the hope that the regime can be persuaded to renounce its illegal nuclear programme. And this is the thanks he gets – a plot to carry out terrorist attacks on the American mainland. The president should accept that Iran is a sworn enemy of the US – and act accordingly.

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