Iran guilty as charged without trial?

Sign protesting Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)
Britain and Canada have joined the US sanctions against five people in connection with the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. As pressure on Tehran mounts, a study said Iran is capable of building a nuclear weapon.

On Tuesday, London and Ottawa have frozen the assets of the individuals who Washington says are linked to the alleged bombing attempt, AP reported. The move follows similar sanctions by the US last week, which targeted the two defendants to the case and three senior officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

American allies have voiced overall support of the charges Washington alleges against Iranian government, although most are trying not to jump to conclusions and accuse government officials in Tehran of being behind the plot.

China and Russia, on the other hand, remain cautious about the scandal, saying they need more time to study the evidence the US has before judging the allegations.

“Experts are to come and explain the situation. We have not heard their arguments yet, so until we hear from them, we won’t add anything,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Interfax.

Earlier the US briefed members of the UN Security Council on the nature of the case and said it plans to send delegations to Russia, China and Turkey to further argue their case against Tehran.

Meanwhile The Islamic Republic is sending conflicting signals over how much attention it will pay to the allegations, which its leadership calls ridiculous and fabricated. The country’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had sent a request for evidence to Washington and will examine it. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday in an interview that no probe into the case will be launched in Iran.

“Why do we have to investigate it? The US always accuses Iran of something. That’s a wrong position,” he told Al Jazeera.

The US has charged two people over an alleged conspiracy to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington. It says Iranian top brass have their hands in the plot.

­Nuclear scarecrow returns

­As the scandal over alleged planned attack on the Saudi diplomat unfolds, a US think tank has reported on Monday that, despite economic sanctions, Tehran has the capability to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium in quantities needed to build a nuclear bomb.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) says the Iranian nuclear program has been slowed by the sanctions, poor performance of the enrichment equipment and possible cyber sabotage, but not stopped.

"Is the Iranian enrichment program on a trajectory toward being dedicated to producing weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons?" ISIS asked and replied: "Unfortunately, despite its severe limitations, this program is able to do so."

Washington has been accusing Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon for many years. Tehran denies such ambitions and says it needs uranium enrichment facilities to secure supply of fuel for its adolescent nuclear power industry and produce fissile materials for other civilian needs.