The Obama administration has begun an effort to explain the alleged Iranian-backed plot to other countries in hopes of using the event to further isolate the Iranian regime, U.S. officials said.
“Iran must be held accountable for its actions,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today. “We will work closely with our international partners to increase Iran’s isolation and the pressure on its government, and we call upon other nations to join us in condemning this threat to international peace and security.”
Clinton has called several of her counterparts this week to discuss the plot, including the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Russia.
The State Department this morning called in ambassadors and representatives from foreign embassies in Washington to explain the alleged plot and to make the case for coordinated action going forward.
Similarly, a secret cable was sent by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to U.S. embassies and consulates abroad instructing them to explain the charges in foreign capitals with the same goal in mind. The cable was first reported by The Associated Press.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has begun to meet with members of the U.N. Security Council to discuss ways they can increase pressure on Iran.
The State Department said today that there is no decision yet to pursue further international sanctions, but said that some countries could do more to enforce existing sanctions.
The Obama administration would also like to see regional pressure placed on Iran.
“We are looking for countries to join us in increasing the political and the economic pressure on Iran: on the political side, obviously, to condemn this effort and other similar efforts by Iran,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said today.
Secretary of State Clinton on Tuesday said the alleged Iranian-backed plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington was reason to rally the international community around coordinated action against Tehran.
“We will be consulting with our friends and partners around the world about for how we can send a very strong message that this kind of action, which violates international norms, must be ended,” she said.
Clinton added that “other areas where we can cooperate more closely in order to send a strong message to Iran and further isolate it from the international community will also be considered.”
The Obama administration has also held classified briefings for lawmakers on Capitol Hill today to brief them in detail on the plot.