Saudis slam Iran over plot

Tension in the Middle East is likely to increase after Washington accuses Iranian government agents of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US, and Tehran hits back, denying all claims. Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal says the case is unacceptable and somebody in Iran will have to pay the price.
This courtroom drawing shows Manssor Arbabsiar (2R), who holds both a US and Iranian passport, charged over an alleged Iranian government-directed plot to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. AFP photo.

This courtroom drawing shows Manssor Arbabsiar (2R), who holds both a US and Iranian passport, charged over an alleged Iranian government-directed plot to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. AFP photo.

U.S. allegations of an Iranian plan to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington are an “evil plot” set up by the United States, and Israel is responsible for the murder of Iranian nuclear scientists, who were killed with U.S. support, according to letters sent by Iranian officials to the United Nations.

Two men, including a member of Iran’s special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, have been charged in a New York federal court with conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat, Adel Al-Jubeir. U.S. Justice Department officials say the men tried to hire a purported member of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the assassination with a bomb attack while Al-Jubeir dined at his favorite restaurant. The New York Times cited an unnamed law enforcement official as saying the plot also included plans to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Israeli and Saudi Embassies in Argentina, Agence France-Presse reported.

U.S. accusations that Iran was involved in the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington are a “childish game” meant to distract the U.S. public’s attention, Iran’s parliament speaker said Wednesday. “Maybe they are after creating an artificial crisis and creating problems among regional countries,” Ali Larijani said, according to Mehr news agency and other Iranian media. “We have normal relations with the Saudis. There is no reason for Iran to carry out these childish actions that they spoke of.”

US: Flagrant violation of law

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast dismissed the U.S. allegations as a prefabricated scenario that is totally unfounded. “Such worn out approaches based on the old hostile policies of the American-Zionist axis are a humorous act and part of the special scenarios staged and pursued by the enemies of Islam and the region to sow discord (among Muslims),” Mehman-Parast said, Fars news agency reported. Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaoddin Boroujerdi strongly rejected the U.S. allegations and said the U.S. move was intended to distract the world public opinion from the anti-Wall Street uprising.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was blunt in saying the U.S. would use the case as leverage with other countries that have been reluctant to apply harsh sanctions or penalties against Iran. Clinton said she and President Barack Obama had called world leaders to tell them of the developments. She said in an interview with the Associated Press that she and Obama wanted to “enlist more countries in working together against what is becoming a clearer and clearer threat” from Iran.

Obama said the alleged plot was a “flagrant violation of U.S. and international law,” while Saudi Arabia said it was “despicable.” The U.S. State Department issued a three-month worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens, warning of the potential for anti-U.S. action, including within the United States, according to Reuters.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
WASHINGTON / TEHRAN