Michael Oren: Israel Taking Iranian Assassination Plot Seriously

Oren says recently thwarted Iranian plot to assasinate Saudi ambassador to U.S. is 'definitely an escalation', Israeli embassy could potentially be Iranian target, Israel 'always has to be vigilant'.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said on Wednesday that Israel is taking the thwarted plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. and the possibility that the Israeli Embassy was a target seriously, saying it was "definitely an escalation" in an interview with MSNBC.

U.S. authorities said on Tuesday that 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.

"We know the Iran regime. This is an Iranian regime that has not only sponsored terrorist organizations in our area, Hamas and Hezbollah, that have fired thousands and thousands of rockets at our civilian population, but they've struck abroad as well," Oren said in the interview.

The Israeli ambassador then went on to recount how Iran was responsible for the bombing of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing over a hundred people.

" Iranian terrorist organizations have killed hundreds of American servicemen, whether in Saudi Arabia, in Iraq, in Lebanon back then - we always have to be vigilant about the Iranian government," Oren reportedly warned.

He said this was "definitely an escalation", adding that "it's not out of character for the Iranian regime; this is not a rational regime".

When asked whether Israel is going to take action against Iran, Oren told MSNBC "we are always fighting against Iranian terror at our borders and beyond our borders, and we're always vigilant and we have very good partners in the security and law enforcement institutions of the United States."

The ambassador applauded the U.S.'s success in thwarting the Iranian plot. "But I think the important thing to keep in mind is Iran is doing all of this without nuclear weapons. Imagine what they could do if they actually had nuclear weapons," he warned in the interview.

Oren also commented on the deal with Hamas to secure the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "We hope he's coming home. It was a very tough decision, a painful decision, but Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli. All of our kids serve in the army, so we know what it feels like. And our kids have to know that when they go out to defend our country, that if, God forbid, they fall prisoner, and we'll do everything to get them home. We're doing everything to bring Gilad home," he said.

oren - Natasha Mozgovaya - May 13 2011
Natasha Mozgovaya