Obama in Korea 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing )
WASHINGTON - An alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States will prompt Washington to apply the toughest possible sanctions to further isolate Iran, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday.
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Speaking at a news conference, Obama said the United States would not take any options off the table in dealing with Iran, a phrase US officials regularly use toward Tehran and that is diplomatic code for the possibility of military action.
US authorities on Tuesday said they had broken up a plot by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. One was arrested last month while the other was believed to be in Iran.
Iran denied the charges and expressed outrage at the accusations.
Obama went on to say that "individuals in the Iranian government" were
aware of the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador
to Washington, and they must be held accountable.
"We believe that even if at the highest levels there was
not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be
accountability," Obama said.In addition to prosecuting the men, Obama told reporters that the United
States would continue "to apply the toughest sanctions and continue to
mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further
and further isolated and pays a price for this kind of behavior."
"Now, we don't take any options off the table in terms of how we operate
with Iran, but what you can expect is that we will continue to apply
the sorts of pressure that will have a direct impact on the Iranian
government until it makes a better choice in terms of how it's going to
interact with the rest of the international community," he added at a
news conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.