Top Iran cleric accuses US of spreading lies to harm
TEHRAN, Oct 8 (AFP) - US accusations about a possible Iranian involvement
in the 1996 bombing of a US military facility in Saudi Arabia are "baseless
lies" intended to harm Tehran's ties with its Gulf neighbours, a top
Iranian cleric charged Friday.
"The recent threats and baseless claims against the Islamic republic
by the United States once again reflect their aggressive policy towards
Islam and Iran," said Ayatollah Hassan Taheri-Khoramabadi in his keynote
sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers here.
"These (accusations) are repetitious and far from reality, and
are aimed at creating tension among the Muslim countries and people of
the region," Khoramabadi said.
His comments followed the announcement by US officials Tuesday that
Washington was still investigating a possible Iranian involvement in the
June 25, 1996, bombing of a US air force housing complex near Dhahran in
eastern Saudi Arabia which killed 19 US servicemen.
"With respect to the issue of Iranian government officials, we
are investigating -- and this is a key word -- information that Iranian
government officials were involved," US State Department spokesman
James Rubin said Tuesday.
"We do have specific information with respect to the involvement
of Iranian government officials.
We have not reached a conclusion about the specific individuals, or
about the question of whether ... this terrorism was sponsored by Iran
itself," he said.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi on Wednesday rejected
Rubin's remarks as "baseless" claims which are "aimed at
sowing discord in the region."