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Saudi Envoy plotter a member of Paris based MKO

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Interpol has requested information about a alleged suspect wanted over US allegations of an assassination plot, but suggested the name was too common to pinpoint the individual.

Salehi said there are 150 names similar to the one requested by Interpol for the alleged plot to kill the Saudi envoy to Washington.

"There are 150 Gholam Shakuris (in Iran). Interpol sent us a question about this name, and our investigation showed a certain Gholam Shakuri who lives in the United States and is a member of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO)," Salehi was quoted by Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat as saying in Saudi Arabia.

The United States alleges Gholam Shakuri co-conspired with an Iranian-American car salesman, Manssor Arbabsiar, to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

While Arbabsiar is in US custody, US officials say they believe Shakuri is in Iran and they have called on Tehran to turn him over to face charges.

Iran has strongly denied any involvement in the alleged plot.

It has also suggested that the Shakuri being sought is part of the terrorist MKO, a Paris-based Iranian exile group, that aims to overthrow the Islamic Republic and has so far staged hundreds of terrorist operations inside and outside Iran.

Both Iran and the United States consider the group to be a terrorist organization.
Salehi made the comments in an interview with Asharq al-Awsat during a visit to Riyadh for the Tuesday funeral of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

In the exchange, the Iranian foreign minister again denied that his country plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir.

"We reject these accusations. There is no justification for Iran, which is a brotherly country to Saudi Arabia, to do such an act. It’s an American accusation – they want to create divisions between Muslim countries and specially the two most important countries in the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia and Iran," he said.

He also noted that Arbabsiar had pleaded not guilty in a New York court this week to the charges, and ridiculed the idea that Iran would engage such a character in the alleged plot.

Even before the plot claims, the ties between the two regional rivals were strained over Saudi Arabia’s military assistance to Bahrain to put down pro-democracy protests by peaceful demonstrators.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have had some differences during the last three decades after the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran as Riyadh is considered a main US ally and always tries to materialize the US interests in the region.

On the opposite, Tehran is an arch foe of the White House and represents independent nations who do not sway under the pressure of any superpower. It is seeking its own national interests and many world states have pinned hope on its success and progress as an independent, Muslim power.

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