October 14, 2011 / 1:51 PM / 8 years ago

Iran official denies direct contact with U.S. over alleged plot

Iranian women walk past an anti-U.S. mural on the wall of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran October 12, 2011. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An official at Iran’s U.N. mission denied on Friday that Tehran had been in direct contact with the United States over allegations it was behind a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

“There has been no direct contact between the two countries,” Alireza Miryousefi, official in charge of the media at Iran’s U.N. mission, told Mehr.

The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that it had been in direct contact with Iran over the allegations, which Tehran has denied. U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran it would face the toughest possible sanctions over the alleged plot.

U.S. authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up a plot by two men linked to Iran’s security agencies to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington. One was arrested last month while the other was believed to be in Iran.

Iran called the accusations a fabrication designed to create tensions in its relations with its neighbours, already under strain over its nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department has said it was weighing more sanctions against Iran’s central bank to tighten the financial screws and deepen the country’s estrangement from international finance.

Iran and the United States are at loggerheads over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, which Washington and its allies fear is aimed at making a nuclear bomb.

Tehran denies this, saying it only wants to generate electricity. The plot raises tensions to a new level between the Obama administration and Iran.

Writing by Zahra Hosseinian

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