Iran once against strongly rejected the US claims that it has had a hand in a plot to assassinate a Saudi envoy to Washington, and demanded a public apology and unspecified monetary damages, an unnamed Iranian diplomat said, Fars News Agency reported.
The diplomat told NBC News that the demands were contained in a recent letter to the US. It called on the US to apologize publicly to both the Islamic republic and officials of the Al Quds Force for "material and moral damages" caused by "this baseless accusation," which violated "international rules and regulations."
The letter stated that such deception has become "a permanent part of statecraft in the US", citing as an example the US invasion of Iraq, which was "based on such false information".
"After killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and US soldiers and wasting billions of dollars from the US citizens' pocket, the US has no other way out except leaving Iraq," the diplomatic source said on the condition of anonymity, recounting the argument made in the letter.
The diplomatic source would not provide details on when the letter was sent out, to whom it was addressed or who in the Iranian government wrote it.
A State Department representative acknowledged Sunday that a letter had been received, but declined to discuss its contents.
The letter raises the stakes in a diplomatic standoff arising from the indictment last month of an Iranian American and an Iranian on terrorism and other charges related to the alleged plot.
After the US leveled the accusation against Iran earlier this month, Tehran fiercely rejected them as baseless and ridiculous, and asked Washington to present its proofs and evidence, but the White House has denied Iran's call.
At the same time, Iranian officials at all levels of the government, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have censured the US and warned it to avoid irrational moves.
"If US officials have some delusions, (they must) know that any unsuitable act, whether political or security, will meet a resolute response from the Iranian nation," Ayatollah Khamenei warned two weeks ago.
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said similarly that "Iran is a civilized nation and doesn't need to resort to assassination."
"The culture of terror belongs to you," he said, referring to the United States.
Iran also has demanded that a diplomat be allowed to visit the Iranian American suspect, Manssor Arbabsiar, in prison, a request that has yet to be honored.
Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, has pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment alleging he plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Arbabsiar will be back in Manhattan federal court on Dec. 21 for a status update hearing.