Clinton: Iran's Alleged Assassination Plot Sends Message That ‘We Got Over Your Border’

By Pete Winn | November 1, 2011 | 12:10 PM EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

( - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview with BBC Persia last week, said the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador was an attempt by the Iranians to “thumb their nose at the Americans” by saying, “We got over your border” --  and “We went after someone you should’ve been protecting.”

Clinton was responding to interviewer Bahman Kalbasi, who told the secretary that, “Many people in Washington said that (the assassination attempt) would have been an act of war. It’s really hard to believe, to be honest, at this point that this was really directed by somebody high in the (Iranian) system.”

The secretary of state said that the United States has a lot of evidence to back up its claims that the criminal conspiracy was tied to the Iranian regime.

“First, if you read the criminal complaint that was filed in our court system in New York, there is a lot of evidence,” Clinton told the interviewer.

“We have three basic categories of evidence: we have the confession/admission of the Iranian American who is in our custody and charged with being one of two defendants,” Clinton said.

“(W)e have the information from the alleged Mexican drug gang member who the defendant tried to hire to be the assassin. Lots of telephone conversations, money being wired from overseas that can be traced back to Iran, and we have other corroborating evidence like the money wire. And so I think there is evidence.”

Clinton, then asked herself and answered her own question -- “(W)hat would they expect to get out of this plot?”

“Well, I think a couple of things. First of all, the fact they use others to carry out their activities, whether it’s Hezbollah, or other terrorist groups, or in this case, trying to make an alliance with a ruthless bunch of killers, is nothing new. They have done that. The Qods Force and the Revolutionary Guard have done that in the past.”

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Clinton pointed out that Saudi Arabia is the main competitor to Iran in the Persian Gulf.

“And many people who are experts on this say because they’ve (Iran) gotten more reckless, because this is not totally something new, never done before by their activities outside of Iran, they were trying to, in a sense, what we would say, kind of thumb their nose at the Americans. ‘We got over your border. We came at you in a way that you didn’t expect. We went after someone you should’ve been protecting, and we, therefore, want you to know that we’re not going to in any way take a backseat to trying to cause problems for you.’”

Clinton added that there "is reason to believe" that a Saudi diplomat was assassinated in Karachi as part of a plot emanating out of the Qods Force-- the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards charged with exporting the Iranian revolution.

"(W)e know that they’ve done things like this before,” she said.

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