Mattis: Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador was approved at ‘highest level’

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US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a televised interview this week that an Iranian plot to kill the then Saudi ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir was an “operation approved at the highest level.”

Jubeir, who now serves as the Saudi foreign minister, had been a target of the failed assassination attempt in 2011.

“They [the Iranians] are not looking out for the best interests of their people,” Mattis told CBS’s Face the Nation.

“You’ve got this revolutionary cause that then causes them to go around creating mischief everywhere else; including trying to murder an Arab ambassador fewer than two miles away from the White House a couple of years ago.

“I’ve seen the intelligence; this was not a rogue agent. This was an operation approved at the highest levels.”

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir. (Reuters)

Iran is believed to have been involved in several assassination attempts against Saudi diplomats during 1989-1990 including the assassination of four Saudi diplomats in Thailand: Abdullah al-Maliki, Abdullah al-Basri, Fahd al-Bahli and Ahmad al-Saif.

In 2011, the Iranian regime was also found reportedly involved in the assassination of Saudi diplomat Hassan al-Qahtani in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

In 2016, there was a failed attempt, under Iranian guidance, to assassinate the Secretary of State for Arab Gulf Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thamer al-Asbahan, when he was then ambassador to Iraq at the hands of Iraqi sectarian militias.