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Saudi Arabia refrains from fingering Iran in alleged assassination plot

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"The officer does exist, and we have known him for a while," said the adviser, Nawaf Obeid. He said that based on telephone intercepts and other intelligence, the Bahraini and Saudi governments believe that Shakuri, a colonel, had urged protesters to go to the Saudi embassy and backed a plan to take control of Bahrain's state television.

The Saudi reluctance to name Iran as the ultimate source of the alleged plot came as officials in Washington attempted to use the purported conspiracy to rally support for tougher international sanctions.

Pressing on a variety of fronts to raise international awareness of the plot, the State Department summoned the entire Washington-based diplomatic corps for a briefing on the matter, ordered its diplomats abroad to brief their host governments on the alleged conspiracy, and arranged for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to provide details of the investigation to members of the U.N. Security Council.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the plot a "dangerous escalation" in Iran's support for terrorism and urged the rest of the world to condemn Iran for it. "Iran must be held accountable for its actions," Clinton said. Vice President Joe Biden in a television appearance called on the world to present unified front against Iran.

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