* Saudi reports Iran to U.N. over alleged plot
* Tehran denies planning to kill Saudi ambassador in
* Iran says plot claim is designed to isolate it
(Adds comments by Iranian president, foreign ministry)
DUBAI/TEHRAN, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has taken a
first step to have Iran reported to the United Nations Security
Council, a move that could lead to new sanctions, but Tehran
dismissed allegations it plotted to kill a top Saudi envoy as a
ploy to isolate it.
"Saudi Arabia's permanent mission to the United Nations...
formally requested the United Nations Secretary General notify
the Security Council of the heinous conspiracy," the Asharq
al-Awsat newspaper reported, citing a statement from the
kingdom's U.N. mission.
The United States on Tuesday said it had uncovered a plot by
two men with links to Iran's security forces to assassinate the
Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, by
planting a bomb in a Washington restaurant.
One of the men, who allegedly paid a U.S. undercover agent
posing as a Mexican drug cartel hitman to carry out the
assassination, has been arrested while. The United States says
the other is in Iran.
Iran's leadership says the allegation has been cynically
engineered to further isolate Tehran -- whose disputed nuclear
programme has triggered several rounds of international
sanctions against it.
"All these pressures are aimed at stopping us from
advancing," Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
quoted as saying on Sunday by the official IRNA news agency
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday
said the alleged plot was a "meaningless and nonsensical
The Saudi step follows remarks by U.S. President Barack
Obama that he would press for "the toughest possible sanctions"
against Iran over the alleged plot, and vowed not to take any
options off the table - a phrase commonly used to mean the
possibility of using force.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on
Wednesday in Vienna that Iran "was responsible" for the alleged
plot and said Riyadh would adopt a "measured response".
Iran's Foreign Minister spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast said
such "unfriendly" comments were based on U.S. allegations for no
which proof had been presented.
"The aim of this American-designed scenario is to hurt
Iran's relations with its neighbours and it is wise not to make
any hasty and unstudied comments," Mehmanparast was quoted as
saying on Sunday by the labour news agency ILNA news agency.
Tensions between Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia
have risen in recent months as Arab uprisings have altered the
balance of power in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia earlier this month appeared to blame Iran,
without naming it, for instigating clashes between members of
the kingdom's Shi'ite minority and security forces on Oct 3 in
which 14 people were injured.
(Reporting By Angus McDowall; editing by Sami Aboudi and Jon
© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.