Saudis want alleged plot brought to UN council

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 6:40 PM
Saudis want alleged plot brought to UN council

Saudi Arabia is asking that the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States be brought to the U.N. Security Council.

But Saudi Arabia's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi did not say what action, if any, his government wants the U.N.'s most powerful body to take.

The council has already imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Russia and China, which have strong economic ties to the oil-rich Mideast nation, reacted cautiously to the new allegations.

In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon obtained Monday by The Associated Press, Saudi Arabia's Al-Mouallimi called the plot not only "a heinous crime" but "a gross violation" of international treaties including those to protect diplomats.

"According to United States authorities, overwhelming evidence leads to the conclusion that this plot was planned, financed, and directed by elements working for or belonging to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.

Two men, including a member of the Iranian special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, have been charged in a U.S. federal court in New York with conspiring to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.

The alleged plot has raised calls in Washington for new sanctions and increased tensions between the Mideast's Sunni power, Saudi Arabia, and the Shiite powerhouse, Iran.

Al-Mouallimi said the Saudi government expressed "deep concern and outrage at this plot" and asked the secretary-general "to bring this matter to the attention of the Security Council."

Ban told reporters in Geneva earlier Monday that he forwarded the Saudi letter, along with letters from the U.S. and Iran which were made public last week, to the Security Council. The U.N. chief sidestepped a question asking about new sanctions and whether Iran had broken a treaty, saying: "I will have to see what the discussions will be at the Security Council."

Iran has rejected the allegations of government involvement in the plot, a view reiterated Monday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He claimed the U.S. was accusing Iran of involvement in a "terror plot" to strengthen international sanctions against the Islamic Republic and divert attention from economic problems in the United States.

In his letter to Ban, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazee stressed Iran's condemnation of terrorism and accused U.S. authorities of carrying out "a well-thought evil plot in line with their anti-Iranian policy to divert attention from the current economic and social problems at home and the popular revolutions and protests against United States' long-supported dictatorial regimes abroad."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted strongly last week that the Obama administration wants further action from the Security Council. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said London was in close touch with U.S. authorities and will work to coordinate "an international response, along with the U.S., the rest of the EU and Saudi Arabia."

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said in a letter to Ban that the plot "constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security" and violates a 1973 treaty on the protection of diplomats and a resolution adopted by the Security Council soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S. It requires all countries to ban support for "entities or persons involved in terrorist acts."