Iranians charged in U.S. over Saudi bomb plot

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, (Reuters) – The United States  accused Iran yesterday of backing a plot to kill the Saudi  ambassador to Wash-ington, escalating tensions with Tehran and  stirring up a hornet’s nest in the Gulf, where Saudi Arabia and  Iran have long jostled for power.

Adel al-Jubeir

U.S. authorities said they had broken up a plot by two men  linked to Iran’s security agencies to assassinate Saudi  Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. One was arrested last month while  the other was believed to be in Iran.

Iran denied the charges. But President Barack Obama called  the plot a “flagrant violation of U.S. and international law”  and Saudi Arabia said it was “despicable.”

Revelation of the alleged plot, and the apparent direct  ties to the Tehran government, had the potential to further  inflame tensions in the Middle East, and the United States said  Tehran must be held top account.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a Reuters interview,  expressed hope that countries that have hesitated to enforce  existing sanctions on Iran would now “go the extra mile.”

At a news conference, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the  convoluted plot, involving monitored international calls,  Mexican drug money and an attempt to blow up the ambassador in  a Washington restaurant, could have been straight from a  Hollywood movie.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder alleged that the plot was  the work of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is the  guardian of Iran’s 32-year-old revolution, and the Quds force,  its covert, operational arm.

“High-up officials in those (Iranian) agencies, which is an  integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible for  this plot,” Holder told the news conference.


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