US president says man charged with assassination plot had direct links to Iran gov't
President Barack Obama said a man charged with plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s US ambassador had “direct links” to Iran’s government, which must be held accountable for the scheme.
“There are individuals in the Iranian government who are aware of this plot,” Obama said at a joint White House news conference with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, who is on a state visit to Washington.
Asked if there is evidence Iran’s top leaders knew of the plan, Obama said that “even if, at the highest levels, there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity.”
The Justice Department on October 11 accused Iran of sponsoring a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US in a conspiracy involving a secret Iranian military unit and a citizen of the Islamic Republic with a US passport.
An “individual of Iranian-American descent was involved” and “had direct links, was paid by, and directed by individuals in the Iranian government,” Obama said. “This is part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government.”
Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, yesterday told reporters the U.S. accusation is “a really big lie” and “doesn’t make sense.” He also accused the US of setting a “dangerous precedent” in drumming up international condemnation for something he said Iran hasn’t done.
Two men were charged with conspiracy to use C-4 plastic explosives to murder Saudi Arabia’s US Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the US.
Targets included “foreign government facilities associated with Saudi Arabia and with another country,” the US said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.
Iran has “categorically” rejected the allegation, which it described as an “evil plot.”
Obama described what he called “a pattern of behaviour” by Iran that “increasingly the international community is going to consider out of bounds and is going to continue to punish Iran for.”
The US will “apply the toughest sanctions and continue to mobilise the international community” to “make sure that Iran is further isolated,” Obama said.
The alleged plot was “directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government,” US Attorney General Eric Holder said on October 11.
“High-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible.”
Iran’s involvement in the alleged plot “constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security,” Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said in an October 11 letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The determination that actions are threats to international peace and security is the usual trigger for UN Security Council intervention.
The conspiracy by what Rice described in the letter as “elements of the government of Iran” also violate the UN Security Council’s 2001 resolution requiring all nations to “refrain from providing any form of support” for persons involved in terrorist acts, she said.
The evidence of Iraq's involvement with WMD was also great; we know now that it was all lies. Does taking action against Iran means following the same footsteps in the UN that led us to invade Iraq? Is the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq will free enough force to engage another possible conflict in the Middle East? All this build up of negative public opinion on Iran can be justified however; no justification can ever justify an attack on a sovereign nation because of an alleged possible assassination attempt (that did not take place) on an Ambassador. We have legal systems that can handle these issues; we should never send our boys to die for a cause that will only satisfy a false political agenda. If there was a plot to kill someone, let the court handle it. There should never be a reason to justify killing thousands of people because of an alleged plot.