Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks a "big lie" on state-run television Saturday.

Ahmadinejad, who has ramped up defiance after ignoring nuclear deadlines set by Washington and allies, was quoted as saying the devastating attacks on New York and D.C. were a "complicated intelligence scenario and act."

“The Sept 11 incident was a big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan," Ahmadinejad said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The Iranian leader made the comments during a meeting with Intelligence Ministry personnel.

In the same meeting, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, Ahmadinejad ripped Western intelligence agencies in the wake of the capture of insurgent leader Abdolmalek Rigi.

"The capture of this criminal terrorist is a proof of the helplessness of the intelligence services of the U.S., Britain and the Zionist regime," Ahmadinejad said. Iran claims that, when arrested, Rigi, the leader of the Sunni Jundollah group, was going to meet high-ranking U.S. officials to plot attacks on Iranian soil.