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Iran rejects U.S. accusations of plot to kill Saudi ambassador

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REPORTING FROM TEHRAN -- Iran on Tuesday rejected U.S. accusations of involvement in an elaborate plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States with help from a purported member of a Mexican drug cartel.

The official news agency, IRNA, accused the United States of a ‘new propaganda campaign’ against Iran. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the claims a “prefabricated scenario” and a “ridiculous show,” according to the Associated Press.

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The U.S. Justice Department alleged Tuesday that members of an elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard planned to detonate a bomb at a busy Washington restaurant and kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. The plotters planned to pay a member of the Zetas cartel $1.5 million to carry out the attack, U.S. officials said.

An Iranian American, Manssor Arbabsiar, has been arrested in the case. Gholam Shakuri, an alleged member of Iran’s Quds Force, was also charged but is not in custody, officials said.

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-- Ramin Mostaghim. Alexandra Zavis contributed reporting in Los Angeles.

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