French President Nicolas Sarkozy has supported allegations that Iran was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and is calling for tougher sanctions against Iran.
Sarkozy said the evidence presented by U.S. authorities is highly credible and he expressed concern over the change of direction in the actions of Iranian leaders.
Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the plot and insists that the allegations are part of a “political and media show” set up by the Americans.
Sarkozy called for further tightening of sanctions against Iran in view of the recent allegations, Iran’s insistence on uranium enrichment and the rising tensions between Iran and Arab countries in the region.
In the meantime, Canada has imposed sanctions on five Iranian officials implicated in the alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird announced: “Indications of the Iranian regime’s involvement are extremely serious. Canada will work with our international partners in considering the consequences for Iran’s actions.”
The five Iranians are: Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American currently in U.S. custody; Gholam Shakouri, Arbabsiar’s alleged partner; and Qud Force commanders Ghassem Soleymani, Hamed Abdollahi and Alireza Shahlayi.
The first two have been indicted by a New York court. The 56-year-old Arbabsiar is under arrest, and Gholam Shakouri is related to Arbabsiar, according to U.S. authorities, and is currently in Iran.
Earlier, all five individuals were put under sanctions by the United States and Britain.
Arbabsiar is accused of colluding with Gholam Shakouri to engage the services of a Mexican criminal gang to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.
Analysts have indicated that the indictment bears many ambiguities and does not show a direct connection between Arbabsiar, the Quds forces and Iranian authorities.