Iranian embassy says Israeli claim of Cyprus hit plot 'baseless'

Iranian embassy says Israeli claim of Cyprus hit plot 'baseless'
Iran's embassy in Cyprus slammed Israeli claims that Tehran had plotted against Israelis on the island as 'baseless'
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Iran dismissed the Israeli claims [Getty]

Iran's embassy in Cyprus on Monday described as 'baseless' claims by Israel that Tehran had plotted against Israelis on the island.

"This regime is always making such a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran," the Iranian embassy said in an emailed response to a comment sought by Reuters.

Israel on Monday accused Iran of plotting "terror" attacks against Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus, but dismissed reports that Israeli-Cypriot billionaire Teddy Sagi was targeted for assassination.

Cypriot news outlet Philenews reported last week that an Azeri national had been arrested in Nicosia after police found a pistol with a silencer in his car.

The man was suspected to have been an assassin targeting "Israelis with business activity in Cyprus", according to the report.

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Referring to the reports, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: "I can clarify on behalf of the security establishment, that this was an act of terror that was orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus."

"The Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi was not the target of the attack," Bennett spokesman Matan Sidi further said.

Some Israeli media have reported that Sagi -- a magnate involved in online gambling and real-estate, among other ventures -- may have been targeted over a business dispute.

Other Israeli reports linked the purported Azeri hitman to arch foe Iran.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a so-called "shadow war", including several reported attacks on Israeli and Iranian ships over the summer that the two have blamed on each other.

Iran has also accused Israel of assassinating scientists and sabotaging sites of its nuclear programme, which it says is for civilian purposes only.

Israel insists Iran is committed to developing nuclear weapons while sowing wider unrest by supplying its armed drones to allied groups across the region.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly this week, Bennett claimed that Iran had "spread its carnage and destruction around the Middle East", branding its new ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi "the butcher of Tehran".

He said Israel "will not allow" Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Islamic republic has ramped up its nuclear activities after the landmark 2015 agreement scaling back its programme in exchange for sanctions relief fell apart in 2018.

Iran said Monday that it foresees nuclear talks reviving by early November.