Rhetoric Ramps Up as Obama Pins Terror Plot on Iran

The president said the Iranian government should be held accountable, but Iran's state media says it's a joke

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The diplomatic war of words is well underway in the alleged plot by Iranian agents to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States in a bombing at the Washignton, D.C. embassy. After analysts expressed skepticism that Tehran was behind the alleged plot, President Barack Obama on Thursday insisted the United States had a strong case, and demanded "accountability" from the Iranian government. "We wouldn't be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the allegations contained in the indictment," Obama said at a White House news conference after meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, according to the National Journal. "We have contacted all our allies in the international community and laid the facts before them ... there won't be a dispute as to what happened." He said the Iranian government was aware of the plot, and should be held accountable, according to Reuters: "We believe that even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability." But Iran is not taking the accusation quietly. Its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had already expressed his skepticism about the plot, and now Iranian state-run media have joined in, according to The New York Times:

Press TV, an English-language news web site controlled by the Iraniann government, quoted the foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, calling the charges part of a “new propaganda campaign.” The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ali Ahani, the deputy foreign minister, saying that “the absurd and conspiratorial scenario was made so immaturely that even political circles and media of the U.S. and its allies were suspicious about it.”

He called the charges an attempt to “weaken Iran’s increasingly strengthening position in the region.”

That ramped-up language comes after some already pretty inflammatory comments from Khamenei, who said on Wednesday the Occupy Wall Street protests would "Ultimately ... bring down the capitalist system and the west," according to The Guardian.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.