A 2001 photo shows Manssor Arbab Arbabsiar in a mug shot. Arbabsiar has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for plotting to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. Getty Images hide caption

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In January, this Saudi man in Riyadh had Twitter open on his computer. Fayez Nureldine /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Saudi Arabia film director Haifaa Al-Mansour (right) receives the award of best film for her movie Wadjda at Dubai International Film Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 16, 2012. Ali Haider/EPA/Landov hide caption

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John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director, worked closely with Saudi Arabia to set up a secret U.S. drone base there, The New York Times reported. Brennan's confirmation hearing is Thursday. Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov hide caption

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Pakistani policemen escort a minivan carrying family members of slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, in Islamabad, earlier today. Aamir Qureshi /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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The suspect: Manssor Arbabsiar (front, right) appearing in court Tuesday.

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On 'Morning Edition'
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This courtroom drawing shows Manssor Arbabsiar (front, right), appearing before U.S. Southern District Court Judge Michael H. Dolinger on Tuesday.

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NPR's Tom Gjelten
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