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US officials did brief Iranians about Saudi ambassador assassination plot – US State Department official | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat – The administration of US President Barack Obama responded coolly to the statement made by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in which he said that Tehran is prepared to “patiently investigate any issue, even if it fabricated” and called on Washington to send Iran the relevant information and evidence relating to the alleged Iranian-backed plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Adel el-Jubeir.

A US State Department official, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said “we previously moved to send this information to Iran but we have yet to receive a formal and constructive response until this time.” The US official added “the evidence and allegations are public, and we have clarified the important details regarding this plot.” Whilst Salehi pointed to the possibility of the US and Iran working together to investigate this plot, the US State Department official said “the first step is to try the defendants whose names are present in the indictment.”

The US official also played down the statements made by the Iranian Foreign Minister, noting that the Iranians have denied that any meeting has taken place between US and Iranian officials to discuss this issue. According to press reports, US officials claimed that US representative to the UN, Susan Rice, had met with members of the Iranian delegation to the UN on Wednesday to brief them on the details of this case. The US State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat that “I can confirm that this meeting did take place, and we revealed the necessary information [to the Iranians], namely the accusation against the Iranian government.”

The US State Department official also confirmed that the trial will proceed in the US despite the fact that one of the defendants, Gholam Shakuri, remains at large in Iran. Shakuri is said to be a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and is accused of planning a bomb plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.

The State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat “one of the accused is still a fugitive from justice and he must be brought to account.” As for the second defendant, Mansour Arbabsiar, he remains detained in America. Arbabsiar is an Iranian – American dual national, which has raised questions about the possibility of the Iranian Consulate visiting him in prison, and potential contacts with the Iranian government during his imprisonment.

The US State Department official stressed that the “rights enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations do not apply in the case where the detained holds dual nationality, if he holds US citizenship [and is arrested in the US].”

However he added that despite the fact that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations does not apply to this case, the US usually allow officials from the detainee’s second state [of nationality] to visit him in prison. The US State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat that “in the event that the Iranian government has any questions about any Iranian citizens in the US it can address these questions via the Pakistani embassy.” This is because Pakistan plays the role of sponsoring Iranian interests in the US, due to the lack of official diplomatic relations between the two countries.