"We oppose any terrorist and violent action that would jeopardize lives of innocent people," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday.
Charges against the two men in Canada include conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group. Police — tipped off by an imam worried by the behavior of one of the suspects — said it was the first known attack planned by al-Qaida in Canada. The two could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Law officials in New York with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press the attack was to take place on the Canadian side of the border. They are not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Amtrak and Via Rail Canada jointly operate routes between the United States and Canada, including the Maple Leaf from New York City to Toronto.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Canada has kept New York posted on the investigation.
"I can just tell you that you are probably safer in New York City than you are in any other big city," Bloomberg told reporters Tuesday without discussing details.
Jaser's lawyer said his client questioned the timing of the arrests, pointing to ongoing debates in the Canadian Parliament over a new anti-terrorism law that would expand the powers of police and intelligence agencies.
Norris speaking outside the court said his client is "in a state of shock and disbelief."
He said his client would "defend himself vigorously" against the accusations, and noted Jaser was a permanent resident of Canada who has lived there for 20 years. Norris refused to say where Jaser was from, saying that revealing his nationality in the current climate amounted to demonizing him.
Canadian police also declined to release the men's nationalities, saying only they had been in Canada a "significant amount of time."