The alleged Iranian plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States is a "dangerous escalation" in Iran's support for terrorism and must draw an international response, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.
Clinton and other US officials urged the rest of the world to join Washington in condemning the scheme, which she said violated US and international law as well as Iran's treaty obligations to protect diplomats.
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"This kind of reckless act undermines international norms and the international system. Iran must be held accountable for its actions," Clinton said.
Her remarks at a Washington conference were part of an Obama administration campaign to use the alleged plot as a springboard for increased international condemnation of Iran and perhaps for new sanctions.
Saudi Embassy in Washington (Photo: MCT)
"We will work closely with our international partners to increase Iran's isolation and the pressure on its government and we call upon other nations to join us in condemning this threat to international peace and security," Clinton said.
Her words strongly suggested that the US wants some new action against Iran from the UN Security Council, which has already approved several rounds of mild to moderate sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
The State Department sent a cable to all American embassies and consulates around the world telling them to put the Iran case before their host governments. Officials said the cable, sent late Tuesday by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and classified secret, tells them to detail the evidence against Iran as presented by federal prosecutors.
Ahmadinejad visiting Saudi Arabia (Photo: Reuters)
Burns also met Wednesday with the entire Washington-based diplomatic corps at the State Department, while US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other officials were briefing members of the UN Security Council on the foiled plot, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
"We are looking for countries to join us in increasing the political and the economic pressure on Iran," Nuland told reporters. On the political side, she said the US wanted firm condemnations of the plot. On the economic side, she said the US wanted countries to redouble their efforts to enforce UN sanctions, national sanctions, regional sanctions, and to impose additional sanctions.
That would "send the message that this is not the kind of behavior that can be tolerated in the international community," she said.
Prosecutors on Tuesday accused Iran of plotting to hire a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi envoy with a bomb attack in Washington. President Barack Obama called it "a flagrant violation of US and international law." Iran has denied the charges.
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