Alleged Iranian terror plot draws sharp response from U.S.

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(AP, ABC7) The U.S. warns that an Iranian plot against the Saudi envoy may indicate 'more aggressive' focus on terror attacks while Iran is rejecting claims of its involvement.

The front of the Saudi embassy. (Photo: Kris Van Cleave)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is preparing new penalties against Iranians following the plot.

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry called the claims a "prefabricated scenario" and a "ridiculous show."

"These old-fashioned behaviors are based on the long-standing hostile American-Zionist policies and are ridiculous show in line with scenarios to provoke division," the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Mehmanparast as saying Tuesday.

The U.S. Justice Department accused agents of the Iranian government of involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, with help from a suspected member of a Mexican drug cartel.

"Designers of such prefabricated scenarios seek to create divisions and help the Zionist regime get of isolation," Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

Earlier, IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, called the accusations by the U.S. Justice Department as "America's new propaganda scenario" against Iran, without elaborating.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Clinton said the Treasury Department soon would put more people under sanctions. She also predicted the plot would further isolate Iran.

Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller said the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador was conceived by agents of the Iranian government.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday the U.S. would hold Iran accountable. Two people, one of them a member of Iran's special operations unit known as the Quds Force, were charged in New York federal court.

The FBI and DEA disrupted the major terrorist plot that targeted embassies and foreign officials, including the Saudi ambassador in D.C.  

Federal officials say a plot with ties to Iran were to include bomb attacks against the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, along attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies.

"This conspiracy was conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran and constitutes a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law, including a convention that explicitly protects diplomats from being harmed," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

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