Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Wednesday warned the United States against "confrontation" over accusations Tehran plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
"We are not seeking confrontation; our policy is cooperation and interaction. If they want to impose a confrontation upon the Iranian nation, the consequences of this issue will be more severe for them," Salehi told reporters after a cabinet session, the ISNA news agency reported.
"We do not want confrontation. (But) if they want to confront us and impose something on us, it will be the end of them. If they have the power to throw a punch, we have the power to smack (them) in a way that they would not be able to stand up," Salehi said.
US authorities said Tuesday that two Iranians -- one also holding US citizenship -- were part of a plot "conceived, sponsored and directed from Iran" to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in a bomb attack.
Iranian officials have rejected the accusations as "mischievous," insisting Tehran had no part in the plot, which they said was a ploy to divert attention from US woes at home and in the Middle East.
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Salehi claimed there had been "many cases" the West had blamed on Iran but which later turned out to be "a mistake."
"Over the past 32 years, there have been many identical accusations. For example in the Lockerbie case, they first accused Iran but it became clear later that that was not the case," Salehi said.
"You have seen the hyperbolic way their officials act. They talk as if a global, nuclear explosion has occurred. They have made such a hue and cry about it," he added.
The revelations about the assassination plot has sent tensions soaring between Tehran and Washington, foes for more than 30 years ever since Islamic students took US diplomats hostage in their embassy in Tehran after Iran's revolution.
US Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday Iran would be "held accountable" for its foiled plot.
A former chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said Wednesday there was overwhelming evidence that Tehran was behind the plot and warned "somebody in Iran" must "pay the price".