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Iran denies Saudi bomb connection

Saudi bombing graphic

August 3, 1996
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m. EDT (1400 GMT)

(CNN) -- Iran released a statement Saturday strongly denouncing claims by U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry that Saudi Arabia might find an Iranian connection in the June 25 bombing of a military housing complex that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

"The prejudicial and irresponsible nature of these charges and defamatory statements against Iran is crystal clear," said the statement issued by Iran's news agency.

Perry, in an interview Friday on National Public Radio, said that the Saudi government was close to releasing the results of its probe of the deadly bombing, and that he believed Iran would be a leading suspect.

William Perry

"They (Iran) are certainly the leading candidate for international terrorism directed against the United States," Perry said.

But Perry also said in the interview that he would not "come to a conclusion about that specific incident ... until I get a report from the Saudi government."

iconThe United States will take "strong action" if there is compelling evidence that Iran or another country was involved in the blast near Dhahran, Perry said. (244K AIFF or WAV sound)

Damage

The "general terms" of any retaliation have been outlined to U.S. allies France and Britain, Perry said. Perry would not specify what action the United States might take against the country.

The truck bomb attack on the Khobar Towers compound near Dhahran injured hundreds of other people in addition to those killed.

Correspondent Jamie McIntyre and Reuters contributed to this report.

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