News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia: Iran Must Pay for Alleged Plot

Saudi Arabia has vowed that Iran must "pay the price" for an alleged scheme to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, as U.S. and British officials say they are discussing a push for a new round of sanctions against Tehran.

Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia (File)
Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia (File)

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington, said Wednesday the burden of proof was "overwhelming" and "clearly shows official Iranian responsibility" for the plot.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused two Iranians of conspiring with elements of the Iranian government to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir.

Officials Tuesday identified one suspect as Manssor Arbabsiar, a holder of Iranian and U.S. passports who was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on September 29.  The officials named the second suspect as Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of the Iranian Quds force who remains at large.

Britain's government said Wednesday it is consulting with the U.S. and others about imposing new sanctions against Iran for its role in the alleged assassination plot.

U.S. officials said Wednesday they are working toward an international response to what U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called an "outrageous act."  U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice is in New York individually briefing other U.N. Security Council members about the alleged plot.

Iran has denied the plot accusations.  Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has sent a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon voicing Iran's outrage over the allegations.  

In Tehran Wednesday, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called the U.S. accusations a "childish game."  

Iran's Press TV says Tehran has summoned the Swiss diplomat about the United States' assassination allegations.

U.S. interests are represented by the Swiss embassy in Tehran because the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.

Officials say the arrested Iranian-American 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.

A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama was first briefed on the issue in June and directed his administration to provide all necessary support to the investigation. Mr. Obama praised the disruption of the alleged attack as a "significant achievement."

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

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