US President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah have upped the ante over Iran’s alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
Both are calling for a strong, international response.
With the arrest of one of two men said to have Iranian links, plus circumstantial evidence accrued by US security officials, Washington is convinced Tehran and part of the Revolutionary Guard masterminded the would-be attack.
Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations said: “This is a real escalation and it suggests to me that they just don’t feel any fear that we will come back at them and punish them for doing this. They are just not afraid of us right now.”
The Saudis, long at odds with Iran, have vowed that Tehran will pay the price for its behaviour and accuse the Iranian government of sowing further discord in the region.
Iran’s response has been to deny any involvement in the alleged plot, describing it as another example of the long-standing animosity shown by the US towards the Iranian nation.