Iran is denying a U.S. accusation that it is harboring an al-Qaida financier suspected of moving money and terrorist recruits through Iran to al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The U.S. government announced a $10 million reward Thursday for information leading to the capture of the alleged al-Qaida operative, Syrian-born Yasin al-Suri, also known as Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil. A State Department official said al-Suri has been operating inside Iran since 2005 under an agreement between al-Qaida and the Iranian government.
In a statement released Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the accusation is completely baseless. He also rejected a December 22 New York court ruling that found Iran liable for helping al-Qaida to carry out the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Relatives of the victims are suing the Iranian government and others for damages.
Mehmanparast accused the United States of promoting "amateurish scenarios" about Iranian links to al-Qaida. He called on the international community to express "deep concern" to Washington about what he called its "irresponsible behavior."
Iran has long denied harboring al-Qaida members or having any connection to the September 11 attacks.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.