Washington, Oct. 12 - The United States will use a foiled Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington to argue for tighter international sanctions against Iran, Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said.
"It's critically important that we unite the world in the isolation of and dealing with the Iranians," Vice-President Joseph Biden said on CBS "The Early Show" on CBS Wednesday.
“This really, in the minds of many diplomats and government officials,crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
Clinton said the U.S. will use the case to “enlist more countries in working together against what is becoming a clearer and clearer threat” from Iran. “We want to reassure our friends that the complaints against Iran are well-founded.”
According to charges laid out by Attorney General Eric Holder, two Iranian government agents tried to hire a Mexican drug cartel to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir at a restaurant in Washington, DC. Sources speaking to major news outlets have also confirmed that the plot also targeted Israel’s embassy in Washington, as well as the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia in Argentina.
The criminal complaint U.S. v. Arbabsiar which detailed the sophisticated plot was unsealed Tuesday.
Iran has continually defied layers of international sanctions that the U.S. and other major powers have levied against it in a bid to disrupt their illicit nuclear program.
Latin America has recently become a battleground for the enforcement of such measures against Iran. Security experts have been warning for the past several years that Iran has been tightening its relations with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez who is rabidly hostile to the United States. Tehran has been trying to build networks through South and Central America with forces hostile to the West, giving it the potential to use the region as a terrorist or even military base to threaten the United States.
Washington slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil conglomerate PDVSA last May for supporting Iran’s illicit bid for nuclear weapons, charges the company denied. Yet the State Department said that Venezuela delivered at least two cargoes of refined petroleum products worth approximately $50 million to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011.
Secretary Clinton warned in March 2011 that "If there is any evidence that [Venezuela] have violated the sanctions, we will act against them."