Too early to speak on Iran plot, says Ankara

Turkey is proceeding cautiously following a briefing by U.S. officials on an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., saying it is too early to comment on the incident.

FM Davutoğlu speaks to US Secretary of State Clinton (R) in New York. AA photo.

FM Davutoğlu speaks to US Secretary of State Clinton (R) in New York. AA photo.

“The U.S. official briefed us about the whole story on the incident; some of its parts are already publicized. We mostly listened to the U.S. official,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity, adding that Ankara would continue to monitor developments in the court case. The official visited Ankara on Oct. 14 and briefed Turkish officials on the alleged Iranian plot. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also discussed the issue in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for the U.S. counterterrorism office of the State Department, had talks with Davutoğlu and other Turkish diplomats in Ankara as part of the U.S. delegations, who have been visiting permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, seeking support against Iran’s alleged plot.

Benjamin also dispatched the indictment in the court case to Turkish officials, the diplomat said.

During talks with Benjamin, Clinton spoke with Davutoğlu to discuss the case and other issues, including an upcoming Afghanistan-Pakistan meeting in Turkey, the diplomat said.

The U.S. State Department ordered all its embassies to mobilize their host countries against Iran over the alleged plot. The U.S. also briefed the embassies of some countries in Washington.

Iran has strongly denied any involvement in what the U.S. says was a plot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force to kill the ambassador by hiring assassins from a Mexican drug cartel for $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Oct. 12 that several countries had not applied sanctions against Iran as strongly as they might.

“The question ahead of us is what further steps we can take in the U.N. and those consultations continue with our U.N. Security Council partners,” Nuland said.

“Our message has been very clear that we think Iran should be held to account, so I think it’s premature to say what the Security Council might be prepared to do, but we’re continuing to work on that,” he said

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sevil Küçükkoşum
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News