October 12, 2011 / 4:38 PM / 6 years ago

U.S. officials: Iran's supreme leader likely knew of plot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Wednesday it was “more than likely” that Iran’s supreme leader and the head of its Quds force knew of the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, but acknowledged the claim was based on analysis rather than hard evidence.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said it was quite possible that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, did not know of the alleged plan to assassinate the ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir.

Iran’s supreme leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The United States on Tuesday disclosed what it said was a plot linked to the Quds force, an arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to kill al-Jubeir in Washington.

But the officials acknowledged that the plan’s exotic elements, including an attempt to hire a hit man from a Mexican drug cartel, were far “outside the pattern” of the Quds force’s past activity.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Will Dunham

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