(Updates with Iranian leader warning U.S. against aggressions in sixth paragraph.)
Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected U.S. accusations that his country was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
“Each day they try to campaign against Iran,” Ahmadinejad said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The U.S. Justice Department accused Iran on Oct. 11 of sponsoring a plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir. Two men were charged with conspiracy to kill the diplomat in a plot that U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder said was “directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government.”
“They are accusing Iran of seeking to assassinate but they need to understand that terrorism is the work of those who are uncivilized,” Ahmadinejad said. Iran “has no need to resort to this.”
The Obama administration has used the case to underline its portrayal of Iran, which it already accuses of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, as a rogue state that threatens global security. The campaign has led the groundwork for efforts to ratchet up multilateral sanctions, isolate the regime diplomatically and perhaps take other actions.
“If U.S. officials are coming up with some ideas they should know that any inappropriate move, be it political or security related will be met with the Iranian nation’s firm reaction,” supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying today in an address to supporters in the western Kermanshah province, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said last week it “categorically” rejected the claim, which it said was a “ridiculous show.” Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, said Oct. 11 the allegations were an “evil plot” and an effort by the U.S. “to divert attention from its ‘‘economic and social problems at home.’’
Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old Iranian native and naturalized U.S. citizen who was working as a used car salesman in Texas, is in U.S. custody. Gholam Shakuri, an Iranian member of the Quds Force, remains at large, U.S. officials said.
--Editors: Digby Lidstone, Louis Meixler.
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