U.S. officials say the alleged plot against the Saudi ambassador was unusually amateurish for Iran's foreign action unit, the Quds Force. By the U.S. account, the force's agent turned to a woman he met while working as a used car dealer to find a Mexican drug dealer-assassin, and he wound up with an informant instead.
The Obama administration is pushing for a united world response of tougher sanctions against Iran for what it calls a flagrant violation of international law.
U.S. officials believe the sloppiness executing the plot was due to inexperience with covert operations inside the United States and Mexico. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss classified analysis, say they believe Iran hoped to disguise the assassination attempt as an al-Qaida attack.