The Pentagon has declined to comment on Israeli claims over foiling Iranian plans to assassinate a US general in Germany, as Iran has also remained silent.
When asked about the identity of the target and when the alleged plot had been foiled at a press briefing Monday, the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said he would not talk about it.
"I would just tell you a couple of things without getting into the specific anecdotes you cited there and I'm not going to talk about intelligence," he told reporters, adding that nobody in the Pentagon is "oblivious to the fact that Iran continues to be a malign actor in the region."
"They continue to support terrorist groups; they continue to develop a ballistic missile program. They obviously, even as they sit in negotiations, continue to develop certain nuclear capabilities. And they are harassing shipping and clearly pose a threat in the maritime domain," Kirby said.
Diplomatic sources told Iran International last week that an operative of Iran's IRGC's Qods Force held in a European, or possibly other Western country, had admitted to plotting assassinations in Turkey, Germany and France.
Iran officials and media, particularly state-run media, have not reported the incident or commented on it. However, in a commentary Monday, Nour News called the reports over the alleged plot "fabrication of the Zionists."
Nour News, a website affiliated to the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani, also accused the BBC's Persian channel of "running the show" and trying to "divert the attention of the public" from "Israeli crimes against Palestinians" and helping the Israeli government overshadow its domestic problems with "crude lies".
A photo said to show Mansour Rasouli during his interrogation. Undated
Within a short time, Israeli media released a short audio recording with a photo of a man introduced as 52-year-old Iranian national Mansour Rasouli confessing to involvement in the plot. Israeli television channels including Channel 12 which broadcast the recording, without providing a source, claimed it was made by Mossad operatives posing as Iranian secret service at Rasouli's home inside Iran but did not abduct him after the interrogation.
A statement from Israeli Prime Minister's Office said Monday the Mossad had "foiled" alleged IRGC plots to assassinate a US general in Germany as well as a journalist in France, and an Israeli diplomat in Turkey.
The alleged plots were ordered and funded by Iran's leadership and were to be carried out by the IRGC, the statement said.
Sarbaz-e Iran, a little-known Twitter account claimed on Sunday, without offering evidence, that Rasouli hailed from a village in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province. Sarbaz-e Iran claimed his information came from Rasouli's brother. The account said fearing being found out by the IRGC, Rasouli fled to Australia after the alleged Mossad interrogation and later arrested.
The Twitter account also claimed that Rasouli was recruited by the IRGC to carry out the operations but was not a part of the IRGC's Qods (Quds) Force himself. Citing Israeli officials, some Israeli media such as Walla news site have claimed that the incident took place a year ago and the man interrogated by the Mossad had connections to drug-smuggling networks.
The Pentagon spokesman also told reporters that the Department of Defense supports the efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal as "no problem in the Middle East is easier to solve with Iran having a nuclear weapon," but still maintains a robust presence in the Middle East to protect its own security interests and those of its allies and partners in the region.