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Biden says Iran will be held accountable for plot

Vice President Biden speaks to troops at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo
Vice President Biden speaks to troops at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said Iran would be held accountable for an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington and that the Obama administration is working to unite world opinion behind a possible U.S. response.

"It is an outrageous act where the Iranians are going to have to be held accountable," Biden told ABC's "Good Morning America" television program.

"It's an outrage that violates one of the fundamental premises upon which nations deal with one another and that is the sanctity and safety of their diplomats."

Biden said the administration is working to unite world powers behind a universal response by showing international partners "exactly what the Iranians had in mind."

He said international unity was vital "so that whatever action ultimately is taken, whether it's additional sanctions, some of which we've already taken, and nothing has been taken off the table ... it's not the United States against Iran."

Biden spoke a day after the United States accused Iran of backing a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir at a Washington restaurant he frequented.

U.S. authorities said they had broken up a plot by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. One was arrested last month while the other was believed to be in Iran.

Attorney General Eric Holder alleged that the plot was the work of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the guardian of Iran's 32-year-old revolution, and the Quds force, its covert, operational arm.

Iran denied the charges and expressed outrage at the accusations.

There are no formal diplomatic ties between the Islamic republic and Washington, which accuses Tehran of backing terrorism and pursuing nuclear arms, a charge Iran has denied.

Iran already faces a raft of tough economic and political sanctions and Washington slapped further economic sanctions on five Iranians including four senior members of Quds.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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