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Iranian leader denies diplomat assassination plot

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suggested the US blamed Iran to divert attention from its own economic problems.

Ahmadinejad in New York last month
Ahmadinejad in New York last month
Image: Bebeto Matthews/AP/Press Association Images

IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD Ahmadinejad has denied allegations that Iranian agents were involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

He claimed the US pointed its finger at Tehran to divert attention from its economic problems. Ahmadinejad also said the United States was accusing Iran of involvement in a “terror plot” to strengthen international sanctions against the Islamic Republic. He said Iran will not investigate the allegations.

Earlier Monday, Iran’s foreign minister offered to look into the alleged conspiracy against the Saudi envoy, if the US provides enough information.

The statement by Ali Akbar Salehi was the first indication that Iran might cooperate with the investigation, though other officials maintained a steady stream of ridicule and rejection of the charges.

“What would Iranian people gain from going inside the US and killing an ambassador of a friendly country?” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel on Monday. “Terror is only deployed by uncivilized nations,” he added.

Two men, including a member of the Iranian special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, have been charged in New York federal court with conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat, Adel al-Jubeir.

The alleged plot raised tensions between Mideast’s Sunni power, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, the Shiite powerhouse.

In Switzerland, Iran’s parliament speaker said American officials are playing a child’s game and have insulted his nation with the accusations.

“The issue and the plot is so naive that it doesn’t need any mediation at all,” said the speaker, Ali Larijani.

Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, was charged in a New York federal court along with Gholam Shakuri, whom U.S. authorities said was a Quds Force member, with conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat, Adel Al-Jubeir.

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Associated Press

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