Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today there was no reason for Iran to investigate claims by the American government that the Middle Eastern country was behind a brazen assassination plot on the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C. and suggested the whole scheme was made up by the FBI.
"Why should we do such an investigation?" Ahmadinejad asked rhetorically during an interview with al-Jazeera. "Every day the U.S. administration levels new accusations against Iran. Should we start our investigations into any of them?"
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice released a 21-page criminal complaint, which included transcripts from wiretaps and references to bank transactions, accusing an Iranian-American of working on behalf of Iran's elite military unit the Quds force in attempting to enlist a member of Mexico's feared Zetas drug organization to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. in a bombing in or just outside a crowded Washington, D.C. restaurant.
But Ahmadinejad said that "fabricating a bunch of papers is not a difficult thing to do" and said the FBI in particular was expert at such a thing. When it comes to Saudi Arabia believing the American version of events, Ahmadinejad said he was referencing the Koran when he said, "If a liar brings you some news, you should not accept it immediately."
Ahmadinejad's comments come just hours after Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said his country was "ready to study" the U.S. allegations and had asked Washington to turn over "any existing documents on the issue," according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week the DEA and FBI had disrupted a plot "conceived, sponsored and... directed from Iran" to murder the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the U.S. capital which potentially would have been followed up by bombings of the Saudi Arabian and Israeli embassies.
Iranian officials had previously said the alleged plot was nothing more than a "fabrication" and a "politically-motivated move" in a new wave of anti-Iranian propaganda.
However, top U.S. officials, including President Obama, said the U.S. is confident that the allegations made against Iran could be clearly backed up by evidence.
"We would not be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the allegations..." Obama said Friday.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said last week the U.S. had been in direct contact with Iran and had also briefed representatives for a number of other nations on the details of the alleged plot.
Nuland said Thursday that while the scheme seems "like something out of a movie... As you begin to give more detail on what we knew and when we knew it and how we knew it, it has credibility."
Obama said during his Friday address Iran "would pay a price" for their alleged actions -- even if it was not clear Iran's top leaders had participated in or were even aware of the alleged plot.
"Even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity," the president said. "The important thing is for Iran to answer the international community why anybody in their government is engaging in these kinds of activities."