Sunday, June 20, 2004

Iran condemns killing of Johnson

: Iran condemns killing of Johnson


"TEHRAN, June 20 (AFP) - Iran on Sunday condemned as 'inhumane' the killing in Saudi Arabia of US defence worker Paul Marshall Johnson, but said the United States' 'wrong' policies were to blame.

'The murder of a person is always inacceptable for us,' foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.'This is an inhumane act, but we must not forget that all this violence and this hate is increasing because of the wrong policies of the United States in its war against terrorism,' he added.

'By continuing their policies, the US is not only failing to reduce terrorism, but increasing it.'Johnson was beheaded despite last-minute pleas to spare his life, including an impassioned appeal by the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest shrine, for an end to attacks on non-Muslims in the oil-rich kingdom.

The death of the 49-year-old US national, who worked with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, triggered a wave of anger in the United States with officials from President George W. Bush down vowing to avenge it.

The beheading was attributed to Al-Qaeda's leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, who was one of four militants gunned down Friday night in a gunbattle with Saudi security forces."

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