Iran on Friday denied Nigerian claims that it was behind a terrorist plot against Israeli and American targets in the West African nation. Nigerian authorities have arrested three men suspected of staking out such targets on behalf of the Islamic Republic.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said reports of his country’s involvement in the plot were fabricated. He added that the false claims were made “in light of the good relations between the two countries.”
“Iran and Nigeria enjoy friendly and intimate relations, despite great efforts on the part of our enemies to destroy them in recent years,” Amir-Abdollahian stated on Iranian television.
The Associated Press quoted Nigerian police as saying Wednesday that the three men – alleged cell leader Abdullahi Berende, Sulaiman Saka and Saheed Adewumi – staked out the offices of the US Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps, as well as the Israeli cultural center in Lagos. Haaretz separately reported that the men staked out Zim, a major Israeli shipper.
Also targeted were prominent Nigerian Muslim and military leaders, according to the police statement.
Berende, the police said, was trained in handling weapons and explosive devices in Iran, and had studied there.
The police did not say how they established a link between the suspects and Iran.