Iran ready to attack inside US - NIA
Washington - Iran's alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States suggests the country's leaders are now more willing to launch attacks on American soil, the US spy chief said on Tuesday.
Last year's suspected conspiracy "shows that some Iranian officials - including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei - have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime," National Intelligence Director James Clapper told a senate hearing in prepared remarks.
The United States was also concerned about possible Iranian attacks against US or allied targets abroad, he said.
But Iran's actions would depend on how Tehran's leaders assess the consequences of the suspected Saudi plot and perceptions of Washington's stance, he said.
"Iran's willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran's evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against [Saudi Arabia's] ambassador as well as Iranian leaders' perceptions of US threats against the regime," he said.
Clapper did not elaborate beyond those brief remarks and most of his comments on Iran focused on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, portraying the Islamic republic's leaders as still open to diplomatic influence.
In October the United States alleged that Iranian officials used an Iranian-American car salesperson to hire a Mexican drug gang in a plot to blow up the Saudi envoy.
The United States claimed it traced the plot back to the Quds Force, a special operations unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the plot.