Zambia stands with Iran on UN vote

Zambia stands with Iran on UN vote

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday deploring the alleged plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and pointed a finger at Iran.

The 193-member world body didn’t directly accuse Iran of involvement, but it called on the Islamic Republic to comply with international law requiring protection of diplomats and to cooperate in bringing those responsible for the assassination plot to justice.

The United States charged in October that agents linked to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir at his favorite restaurant in Washington. It has charged a U.S. citizen who holds an Iranian passport and an Iranian described as a member of an elite Revolutionary Guard unit, who is still at large.

Iran, which has vehemently denied any involvement and called the allegations “laughable,” tried to have all references to the Islamic Republic removed from the Saudi-sponsored resolution. But it received support from less than a dozen countries, and its attempts to amend the Saudi draft were soundly defeated.

The General Assembly then approved the resolution by a vote of 106-9, with 40 abstentions. Those joining Iran in voting “no” were Armenia, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Zambia.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice hailed the vote, saying it showed that “Iran is increasingly isolated,” and noting that not one of the eight countries that joined Tehran in opposing the resolution was a predominantly Islamic or Arab nation.

“The world came together in a very strong message that diplomats and the work we do are sacrosanct,” she said. “We all deserve protection and the ability to do the work of the state without fear or threat of violence. And today the members of the General Assembly delivered that message very forcefully.”

Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi told the assembly before the vote that the time had come to say “enough terrorism, enough of attacking diplomats.”

He stressed that the resolution didn’t “accuse or condemn any party” but mentioned Iran because the country was mentioned in the confession of Manssor Arbabsiar, who subsequently pleaded not guilty.

A U.S. criminal complaint accused Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, who the U.S. said was a member of Iran’s elite Quds Force, of hiring a would-be assassin in Mexico. That man was also a paid informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who told U.S. authorities the details of the plot, which led to the arrest of Arbabsiar and charges against Shakuri.

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