TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran described as "astonishing" Wednesday accusations by the White House that Tehran's allies in Iraq were responsible for attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions during deadly unrest last week.
Both the U.S. consulate in Iraq's third city Basra and its embassy in Baghdad were in areas that came under attack.
But the main targets of the unrest in Basra were the offices of political parties and government buildings as well as Iran’s consulate, some of which were burnt to the ground.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi blamed the unrest on U.S. support for "groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism."
"The U.S. government must be held accountable for its years of support for these groups," Qasemi said, according to the ISNA news agency.
He was responding to a statement by the White House on Tuesday, which accused Iran of failing to prevent the violence, particularly the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions.
Qasemi described the statement as "astonishing, provocative and irresponsible."
"America should know that by playing such clumsy blame games, it cannot cover up the consequences of its wrong, fruitless and destabilizing policies in the region," he said.
The rare attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad came on Friday when three mortar rounds were fired at the capital's fortified Green Zone, though no casualties or damage was reported.
"A safe and developed Iraq has always been among the priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and conspiracies by third parties cannot prevent the enhancement of these long-standing and solid relations," Qasemi said.
The United States threatened Iran with a response over the unrest in Basra, saying Tehran would be held accountable for any possible harm to Americans stationed there.
Iraqi political leaders, however, have blamed the U.S., Daesh terrorists and remnants of former Ba’ath regime for the recent wave of violence.
"We have complete information and documents that show the U.S. embassy and consulate in the country caused the Basra unrest," Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Hashd al-Sha’abi, said on Sunday.
Muhandis said the riot was actually meant to sow discord among different Iraqi political parties and movements.
Iraq's Alahad television network said it had obtained audio recordings that revealed the Saudi intelligence agency's role in the Basra incidents.
The agency, the report said, had employed people in Iraq to use them in critical times and monitor the situation in the Arab country.
On Tuesday, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq opened a new consulate for his country in Basra after its old mission building was torched by masked assailants.
"I’m here to inaugurate the new premises of our Iranian consulate in Basra... because we don’t want lose a single day of services for the people of Basra,” said Ambassador Iraj Masjedi.
The envoy was speaking at a news conference before the Iranian flag was hoisted outside the building now operating as the Islamic Republic’s consulate in the city.
Iran is one of two major powers present in neighboring Iraq. Many pilgrims from Iran are expected to travel to Iraq in around 10 days for the Ashura rituals and in October for the Arbaeen commemorations.
Iran said the responsibility for any negligence over the incident lies with the Iraqi government, which announced an investigation into the security forces responsible for protecting the mission.