Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was weighing its response to an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate its ambassador in Washington. The kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, on a visit to Austria, said the kingdom would have a “measured response” to the alleged plot. “We hold them (Iran) accountable for any action they take against us,” Prince Saud said in Vienna, where he was discussing opening a religious dialogue centre. “Any action they take against us will have a measured response from Saudi Arabia.”
Prince Saud said this was not the first time Iran had been suspected of similar acts, and condemned Tehran for trying to meddle in the affairs of Arab states. Asked what actions Saudi Arabia might take, he said: “We have to wait and see.”
Saudi Arabia and the GCC strongly denounced and condemned the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir. In a statement issued yesterday the Saudi government said that it is, “considering the critical procedures and steps that must be taken in this regard to stop these criminal acts and to firmly address any attempts to destabilize the Kingdom, threaten its security and spread sedition among its people”.
In a separate statement, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), condemned the assassination attempt as a “flagrant and unacceptable violation of all laws, conventions and international norms, seriously harming the relations between the GCC member countries on the one hand and Iran on the other hand.”
Dr. Al-Zayani also lauded the effective cooperation between the competent security bodies in both the United States and Mexico, which put an end to this heinous act.
In London yesterday, former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, said “somebody in Iran will have to pay a price.” The prince’s aides said his remarks were personal views and did not reflect official policy.
Saudi Arabia has been subjected to numerous Iranian-linked plots.
In 1989, Saudi Embassy employees were killed or seriously injured during a series of attacks at the kingdom’s missions in Turkey, Belgium and Lebanon. Pro-Iranian groups active in Beirut at the time claimed responsibility for the assassinations.
In Bangkok, meanwhile, three Saudi diplomats and another embassy employee were murdered in 1989 and 1990. Thai authorities later accused pro-Iranian group known as Jund al-Haqq — Arabic for “soldiers of justice” — of carrying out those attacks. The group had previously claimed responsibility for one of the slayings in 1989.
Thailand’s interior minister at the time said the killings were to avenge the deaths of Iranian pilgrims in a 1987 clash with Saudi police in the Islamic holy city of Mecca that killed about 400 people. But authorities in Thailand reopened the case in 2007.
The US Justice Department on Tuesday charged two men with conspiring with Iranian officials to assassinate Jubeir.
Iran, facing four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its nuclear programme, called the US allegations part of an “evil plot” against it, and wrote to the UN Security Council, accusing Washington of “warmongering.”