Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and Khomeini - AP - 2009
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sitting under a portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran, July 20, 2009. Photo by AP
Text size

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Sunday that Tehran would respond robustly to any "inappropriate measure" by Western powers linked to an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, state television reported.

"Any inappropriate measure against Iran, whether political or security-related, will be strongly confronted by the Iranian nation," Khamenei said, in a clear reference to U.S. allegations that two men with links to Iran's security forces had planned to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Iran says the allegation is without foundation and has been cynically engineered to further isolate Tehran -- whose disputed nuclear programme has triggered several rounds of international sanctions against it.

In his first reaction to U.S. charges that Iran was involved in the assassination plot, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that not Iran but the United States were terrorists.

"The Iranian nation has civilization and culture and does not need to have recourse to terrorism," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to students in Tehran.

"The culture of terrorism belongs to you," the president said in remarks directed at Washington, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has taken a first step to have Iran reported to the United Nations Security Council, a move that could lead to new sanctions, Saudi-owned newspapers reported on Sunday.

"Saudi Arabia's permanent mission to the United Nations… formally requested the United Nations Secretary General notify the Security Council of the heinous conspiracy," the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported, citing a statement from the kingdom's UN mission.

Ahmadinejad said that all the US accusations against Iran were solely futile attempts to deprive Iran of progress and development.

Last week, The United States claimed Iranian agents planned to engage a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Adel A Al-Jubeir, possibly through a bombing at al-Jubeir's favorite Washington restaurant.

U.S .President Barack Obama said there was "no dispute" that Iran was involved. "We would not be bringing forward a case unless we knew exactly how to support all the all facts contained in the indictment," Obama said.