Tuesday, 18 October 2011

President Ahmadinejad denies Saudi plot

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied the Islamic Republic's involvement in the plot to assassinate a Saudi envoy. He said the allegations were as false as those about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Ahmadinejad said that the US' claims were intended to distract people from the country's own "internal economic problems". In a broadcast on Al-Jazeera, Ahmadinejad said US was looking for an excuse to toughen sanctions against Iran.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has asked the UN Security Council to look into what it called a "heinous conspiracy". Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he had passed correspondence about the affair to the Security Council.

Just days ago, the US imposed sanctions on the Iranian airline Mahan Air, which reportedly carried members of an elite force linked to the alleged plot to kill the Saudi envoy to the US. According to the US Treasury, Mahan Air flew members of Iran's Quds Force and Hezbollah across the Middle East.

The sanctions stipulate that the airline's US assets will be frozen and US firms are barred from doing business with it. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the supposed plan was "dangerous escalation" by Iran.

Speaking about the situation, Ahmadinejad said: “In the past the US administration claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They said it so strongly, they offered and presented documentations and everyone said, 'yes, we believe in you, we buy it'…"Now is everyone asking them, were those claims true? Did they find any weapon of mass destruction in Iraq? They fabricated a bunch of papers. Is that a difficult thing to do? The truth will be revealed ultimately and there will be no problem for us at that time."

Ahmadinejad added: "I think that there are some people in the US administration who want this to happen, but I think there are wise people in the US administration who know they shouldn't do such a thing."

Sources: AP, BBC News, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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