Since the revelations of the involvement of the supreme leader of the Islamic republic of Iran and that of the Ghods force in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the US which brought about a response from the president and other senior officials of the US, harsh accusations and counter-accusations have followed between both sides including senior Iranian diplomats. Among them is radical cleric Mehdi Taeb, closely tied to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC and the commander of the Ammar garrison, who said that Iran had the ability to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s king Abdullah.
These remarks were published by Fars news agency which quoted the cleric to have said, “If we have a need to assassinate anyone, we have the power to assassinate king Abdullah himself.”
In the mean time, Abbas Abdi – former hostage taker and now democratic reformer – called on officials to particularly refrain from making rash televised statements and allow the situation to mellow out through diplomacy and reason.
Saudi Arabia at this time formally complained to the UN Security Council about Iran and requested the international community to confront the Iranian regime. King Abdullah also spoke on the phone with US president Barack Obama and declared his approval for a confrontation with Iran.
Prior to this, US vice-president Joe Biden had spoken of “all options being on the table regarding Iran.”
In that charged atmosphere, Iran’s diplomatic officials initially rejected US assertions and called them “a joke.” But as soon as Saudi Arabia took a harsh tone regarding diplomatic actions against the Iranian regime, they turned up the heat and issued a “warning” to Saudi Arabia over its actions and remarks.
The hardline media of Iran also took a tough posture against the US and Saudi Arabia and called on the Iranian officials to take a tougher stance over the uproar over the assassination of Saudi ambassador Adel al Jaber so that Mehdi Taeb, the head of the Ammar garrison spoke of Iran’s capabilities to assassination Saudi Arabia’s king Abdullah. A member of Majlis too made similar remarks when he spoke of Iran’s military capabilities and the prosecution of Saudi leaders, remarks that received wide coverage in Arab and regional media.
From then on, the verbal war between Iran and Saudi Arabia elevated to the current level and the Saudi UN representative in New York submitted a letter to the Security Council and asked that the issue of the assassination plot of its ambassador in Washington by Iran be discussed. At the same time, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rise launched talks and consultations with other members of the Security Council on the subject.
According to Aljazeera, senior officials in Saudi and the United States have reached an agreement on how to confront this issue. Two days ago, Saud al Faisal who was attending the opening of a religious center in Austria spoke of “reprisals” against Iran and according to Iran’s Aftab site has said, “Anything action that Iran takes against Saudi Arabia will be calculatedly reciprocated.”
It should be noted that according to AFP, the Gulf Cooperation Council also condemned Iran, as announced by the secretary general of the group Abdol-Latif al Ziani. “Attempts to assassinate ambassador Adel al Jaber a flagrant violation of all laws, rules and international norms, which will dramatically hurt relations between the GCC members and Iran,” he has said.
Iran however which through the foreign ministry spokesperson had initially called the issue a joke, issued a warning to Saudi Arabia after wide international reactions to the plot news as remarked by foreign minister Salehi.
According to Fars news agency, Salehi calmly had said, “We have no problems with Saudi Arabia and the only differences are in our interpretations of regional developments. We hope that the Saudi will deal with this issue by considering all aspects because the enemy continues to desire to create division among regional countries. The Saudi’s are wiser than be taken by this political game.”
He continued that some legal consequences could follow this “invalid accusation”. “Politics has a software nature and we are not the military to act militarily. We shall deal with other countries through respect, wisdom and pragmatism. We shall soon put to shame the accusations that are made against Iran. They want Iran to be in their political orbit, but we have already paid for our independence during the last 32 years,” he said.
But in contrast to Salehi’s conciliatory tone, Fars news agency carried the full text of Mehdi Taeb who spoke of Iran’s capability to assassinate king Abdullah.
“By claiming that we want to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, the US wants to return the attention to Iran. We do not have a need to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. If we have a need to assassinate anyone, we have the power to assassinate the person of king Abdullah,” he said.
In addition to these remarks, a member of Iran’s Majlis, Mohammad-Reza Abedi, who also happens to a member of the national security committee of the parliament, spoke with Jahan News and also talked about Iran’s capability for an Iranian military attack on Saudi Arabia. He said that, “Iranian armed forces could easily enter Saudi Arabia and then arrest and try the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Al Saud dynasty will be toppled at Iran’s determination. Al Saud must be prosecuted for engaging in character assassination of distinguished Islamic personalities.” He also made a reference to this year’s protests by Iranian pilgrims to Mecca and said, “We must prepare ourselves world Muslims to denounce the US and al Saud at the pilgrimage this year.”
Observers have said that this year’s Mecca pilgrimage event, which brings Muslims from all across the world to Saudi Arabia, could turn into a confrontational event between Iran and Saudi Arabia.