House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King says the Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador and blow up the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington “crossed a red line,” and had it been successful “basically you are talking about an act of war.”
The New York Republican also told CNN’s Erin Burnett Tuesday the plot has raised the relationship between America and Iran to “a very precipitous level” and there is a need for “significant action.”
“This is — to me it’s really historic in a terrible sense of the word. The Iranians have crossed a red line” King said. “I mean if this had been carried out, you’re talking about an act of murder carried out by a foreign government on our soil of a foreign diplomat — basically this would have been an act of war.
“I mean this is — this really goes beyond anything that I’m aware of that’s happened before,” he said. “Certainly something as flagrant and this notorious has raised . . . to me, the relationship between the United States and Iran to a very precipitous level.”
Burnett asked King how far up “this does go in the Iranian government.” King said he was just surmising, but “you could not have planned something of this magnitude without the very top levels of the Iranian government knowing it — the supreme leader, the president.”
“This is such — again, this violates all international norms, violates international law,” he said. Basically, you’re talking about an act of war. I think we have to — the United States has to really consider taking very significant action.”
“I don’t think sanctions alone are enough — I think we should consider actually deporting or removing the Iranian officials at the U.N., the staff at the U.N.,” King continued. “We can’t allow this to go without a strong reaction by us, otherwise we’d be encouraging the Iranians and others to realize that it’s open season here in the United States — we can’t allow that.”
Burnett noted the government complaint against the accused, foiled assailant quotes him as saying those behind the plot don’t care if many others perished in the bombing.
“It’s bad enough to go after the ambassador, any ambassador. But also to run the risk and not care about killing hundreds of Americans — innocent people — again, this is an act of war if it had been carried out,” King said. “It’s one thing when it’s al-Qaida, which is an international movement and it’s evil, but it’s not officially sanctioned by a government.
“To have a government which has an army, which has an armed forces, which has people in charge, for them to take or contemplate or plan an action such as this, we have to have a very strong response,” he said.
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