With roughly one week left before the US reimposes sanctions on Iranian exports that could hamper Iranian crude-oil exports, Hassan Rouhani, the president of the Islamic Republic, accused the US of officially sanctioning the murder of Saudi journalist-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi, arguing that no country would carry out such a heinous crime "without the protection of America."
While the US probably won't bother to dignify Rouhani's allegations with a response, reports that US intelligence agencies had intercepted communications about the plot to ambush Khashoggi suggest that the US had an idea that Khashoggi might be killed upon returning to the consulate. And knowing this, they did nothing to warn Khashoggi or the Saudis, despite Khashoggi's status as a US resident writing for a prominent national newspaper.
According to Reuters, which cited a transcript from the official Iranian news agency, Rouhani said that such a brutal killing taking place at a foreign consulate was almost "unthinkable".
"No one would imagine that in today’s world and a new century that we would witness such an organized murder and a system would plan out such a heinous murder," Rouhani said, according to IRNA.
"I don’t think that a country would dare commit such a crime without the protection of America."
And as Rouhani pointed out, US protection has allowed KSA to continue its brutal bombing campaign in Yemen, while Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has engaged in an authoritarian crackdown on domestic dissent.
"If there was no American protection, would the people of Yemen still have faced the same brutal bombing?" Rouhani said.
On a separate note, Rouhani declared that Iran would "defeat" US sanctions on Iranian exports.