Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned the US on Sunday that any measures it takes against Tehran over the alleged plot to assassinate, Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington would bring a “resolute” response.
The Obama administration said it is considering sanctioning Iran’s central bank in retaliation for the assassination plot, a move that could severely damage Iran’s economy. The President said last week that he wasn’t sure if top Iranian leaders personally knew of the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, but he said they should be held accountable anyway. “Even if at the highest levels there was no detailed operational knowledge,” Obama said, “there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity.”
Experts suggest that sanctions against the country’s Central bank would not halt all of Iran’s crude oil sales, but it would sharply raise the cost of such transactions and thus “drain the Iranian treasury.” Iran, the third-largest OPEC oil exporter, is a “one-crop country” that derives 50% to 75% of its government revenue from crude oil.
Two men, including a member of Iran’s special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, have been charged in New York federal court with conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat. US officials have said no one was ever in any immediate danger from the plot.
Iranian officials have consistently denied the allegations since they first emerged last week.
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, said that the U.S. accused Iran of terror in order to divert attention from its economic woes and from the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. “By attributing an absurd and meaningless accusation to a few Iranians, they tried … to show that Iran is a supporter of terrorism. … This conspiracy didn’t work and won’t work,” he said.
Iran’s, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, dismissed the U.S. accusations as a fabricated “scenario” “Iran is a civilized nation and doesn’t need to resort to assassination,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying Sunday by the official IRNA news agency. “The culture of terror belongs to you,” he said, addressing the United States.