Iran's U.N. Mission on Thursday rejected allegations by U.S. officials that the country is supporting the insurgency in Iraq, calling the claims "unfounded" and "baseless."

The mission cited "false" allegations against Iran by senior U.S. officials including by President George W. Bush and at recent U.S. Congressional hearings.

Last week, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress that Iranian-backed "special groups" pose "the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq" in unchecked. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. will be as aggressive as possible to counter the increase in Iranian support for militias.

Earlier this year, Bush called Iran "the world's leading state sponsor of terror" and said Iran funds militant groups and sends arms to Shiite extremists in Iraq.

In its statement responding to allegations about its relations with Iraq, Iran's U.N. Mission said these "allegations are but futile efforts to distract the international community's attention, along with that of the U.S. public opinion."

"Iran stands to highly benefit from stability, security and prosperity in Iraq, as it will immensely suffer from insecurity and instability in that country," the mission said.

Iran issued the statement a week before Iran attends a conference of Iraq's neighbors in Kuwait.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Iran Thursday to end its backing for Shia militias. She also told reporters in Washington that she has no plans to meet Iran's foreign minister at the conference next week.

In May 2007 at a meeting in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Iraq's neighbors — among other things — promised to stop foreign militants from joining Iraq's insurgency, a pledge that the United States says has not been met.

Iran's U.N. Mission said the country's best interest lies in a democratic and prosperous Iraq at peace with itself.

"Therefore we reject the baseless allegations that have been made against Iran by U.S. officials with regard to Iraq," it said, adding that no evidence has been presented to corroborate the claims.

"Iran has taken various concrete steps to help the Iraqi government to bring about stability...and has been unequivocal in both its strong support for stability and national unity in Iraq and in its condemnation of any efforts to cause instability, insecurity and sectarian violence and terrorism in the country," it said.

Iran has condemned attacks on Baghdad's Green Zone just as it has for residential areas in Iraq, according to the mission's statement.

In May 2007 at a meeting in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Iraq's neighbors — among other things — promised to stop foreign militants from joining Iraq's insurgency, a pledge that the United States says has not been met.