President Obama said Iran will pay a price for a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, arguing that the Iranian regime has increasingly alienated other countries in the Middle East.
“I have to emphasize that this plot is not simply directed at the United States of America,” Obama said at a press conference with the South Korean president. “This is a plot directed at the Saudi ambassador…You’re going to see folks throughout the Middle East region questioning their ability to work with Iran.”
Obama also pointedly accused Iran of being “hypocritical” in its reaction to the Arab Spring and predicted that other Middle Eastern countries will eventually punish Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Iran has been hypocritical when dealing with the Arab Spring — their ability to prop up the Syrian regime when they are killing their own citizens,” Obama said. “Increasingly, the international community will consider [that] out of bounds and punish Iran.”
Obama said he would not comment on the details of the investigation into the Iranian-tied plot, leaving that to Attorney General Eric Holder. But Obama readily acknowledged that “individuals in the Iranian government knew about this plot.”
“Even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with anyone engaged in the Iranian government,” he said. “The thing for Iran to answer to the international community is why anyone in his government is engaging in these activities, which I acknowledged before are out of bounds — not just for a country like Iran —but violate basic principles about how diplomats [have been] dealt with for centuries.”
Watch below for Obama’s response at the presser: