News / Middle East

    Saudis: Iran Sought 'Murder, Mayhem'

    An embassy staffer peers through a glass door at an entrance of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, DC, October 11, 2011.
    An embassy staffer peers through a glass door at an entrance of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, DC, October 11, 2011.

    Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of seeking international influence through "murder and mayhem," after the U.S. revealed an alleged plot by elements of the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Thursday while on a trip to Austria that Saudi Arabia is working on a "measured response." He said his country would "not bow" to Iranian pressure and would hold Tehran accountable for any action taken against Saudi Arabia.

    Meanwhile, Prince al-Faisal's British counterpart, William Hague, said Thursday the alleged plot was a "major escalation in Iran's sponsorship of terrorism." He said Britain will work with the U.S., the European Union and Saudi Arabia to agree on an international reaction.

    Iran has denied the allegations. The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani Wednesday as calling the scenario "absurd" and urging Saudi Arabia to be wary of U.S. efforts to damage relations of countries in the region.

    The U.S. and Saudi Arabia pledged to pursue a "strong and unified" international response to the alleged plot.

    The White House said President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah spoke by telephone Wednesday and agreed that the plot represents a "flagrant violation" of international norms and vowed to hold "those responsible accountable for their actions."

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the thwarted scheme a "dangerous escalation" in Iran's "long-standing use of political violence and sponsorship of terrorism." She said the U.S. will work closely with its international partners "to increase Iran's isolation and the pressure on its government."

    The tough response came a day after the U.S. Justice Department announced it had charged Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and Gholam Shakuri, a member of an elite Iranian military unit, with conspiring to carry out a bomb attack on Saudi envoy Adel al-Jubeir.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the plot was "conceived, sponsored and directed" from Iran.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said the plot involved top members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, a group that operates outside of Iran. He called that finding "significant in and of itself," and said Washington is taking "no options off the table" in its response to the alleged scheme.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. designated the Iranian commercial airline Mahan Air a supporter of terrorist-related activities in Tehran. The finding prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in commercial or financial transactions with Mahan Air and freezes assets it may hold under U.S. jurisdiction.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called the alleged assassination attempt an "outrageous act" for which Iran must be held accountable.

    The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide alert for American citizens about possible "anti-U.S. actions" following charges against the two Iranians. It said the scheme may indicate Iran's government could be taking a "more aggressive focus" on terrorist activity.

    U.S. officials say Arbabsiar unknowingly hired an informant of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the plot, believing the informant had ties to Mexican drug cartels capable of killing the Saudi ambassador. They say Arbabsiar confessed to making a $100,000 down payment on the scheme with a price tag of $1.5 million.

    Officials arrested Arbabsiar at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on September 29, but Shakuri is still at large.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora