Obama says U.S. will move to isolate Iran
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, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday, as Iran's supreme leader said that the West is trying but failing to instill "Iranophobia." Al-Arabiya reported
Speaking at a news conference, President Obama said the United States would not take any options off the table in dealing with Iran, a phrase U.S. officials regularly use toward Tehran and that is diplomatic code for the possibility of military action.
U.S. 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.
In addition to prosecuting the men, President Obama told reporters that the United State 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."
American officials say they believe Iran hoped that such an attack would be blamed on al-Qaeda. That, in turn, would strike at two of Iran's chief enemies: the United States and Saudi Arabia.
"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," President Obama said.
"I have to emphasize that this plot was not simply directed at the United States of America. This is a plot that was directed against the Saudi ambassador," the president added.