Obama: Iran Will Pay A Price - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obama: Iran Will Pay A Price

Washington (CNN) -- The United States has had "direct contact with Iran" about the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the United States as the Obama administration ratchets up its rhetoric against the Islamic republic.

State Department spokeswoman Victorial Nuland, disclosed the development at a press briefing. A senior administration official told CNN the contact occurred on Wednesday and was initiated by the United States.

Nuland said she can't say who spoke to whom or where the meeting was held. She said it was not in Iran.

This comes as President Barack Obama weighed in on the alleged plot, saying the development is "not just a dangerous escalation, this is part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government.

Obama called it a sign of how Iran has "been outside of accepted norms of international behavior for far too long" and the United States will work with international partners and will take steps to ensure that Iran "pays a price.

Iran vehemently denied the plot. A Tuesday letter from Iran's permanent U.N. representative to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "outrage" over the allegations and said the country "strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations, based on the suspicious claims by an individual. Any country could accuse other countries through fabrication of such stories. However, this would set dangerous precedents in the relations among States."

Speaking to reporters with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Obama underscored a principle of international behavior: that diplomats are protected.

"This plot was not simply directed at the United States of America. This was a plot that was directed against the Saudi ambassador. And I think that what you're going to see is folks throughout the Middle East region questioning their ability to work effectively with Iran."

Even if at the highest levels, Iran did not have detailed operational knowledge of the alleged plot against the Saudi ambassador in the United States, "there has to be accountability with respect to anyone in the Iranian government" engaging in such an activity, Obama said.

Iran must answer to the international community "why anyone in their government" is engaging such activities, he said.

"This is just one example of a series of steps that they've taken to create violence and to behave in a way that you don't see other countries doing," Obama said.

Obama said Attorney General Eric Holder "laid out a very specific set of facts" and the United States would not have brought the case forward if it weren't able to back up the allegations.

"What we know is that an individual of Iranian-American descent was involved in a plot to assassinate the ambassador to the United States from Saudi Arabia," Obama said. "And we also know that he had direct links, was paid by and directed by individuals in the Iranian government. Now those facts are there for all to see."

He praised the "outstanding" U.S. intelligence work that helped thwart the plot that he said would also have killed innocent civilians. Click here to read more

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