Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Latest U.S. Allegations Leave Iran In No Mood To Cooperate In War On Terror

Description of Selected News: "Latest U.S. Allegations Leave Iran In No Mood To Cooperate In War On Terror


TEHRAN (AFP) -- A senior Iranian official has accused the United States of using the war on terrorism as a political tool and says the Islamic republic as a result is in no mood to directly cooperate with Washington in the fight against Al-Qaeda.

In an interview with AFP late Tuesday, the deputy head of the Iranian parliament's influential Foreign Policy and National Security Commission also angrily rejected fresh U.S. allegations of a link between Tehran and Osama bin Laden's network.

"Iran has absolutely no link to these people responsible for the September 11 attacks," said Mohamoud Mohammadi in response to a report from the U.S. commission investigating the 2001 suicide assault.

The report released last week said some of the hijackers transited Iran prior to the attacks, and that Iran had maintained contacts with Al-Qaeda.

"Even if they did pass through Iran, it doesn't prove anything. Just because they crossed a particular country, it does not mean that country is responsible," said the deputy, formerly a senior official in the Iranian foreign ministry.

"We have never acted ambiguously with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. We have always fought against the Taliban. Al-Qaeda is a threat to us. We are being threatened by them at the moment, so we have to be cautious," asserted Mohammadi, a top member of the new conservative-controlled parliament. "This caution should not be translated as us being ambiguous," he added "In Iran there is a unified policy against Al-Qaeda, whereas in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan some elements support them."

Mohammadi said the constant stream of U.S. allegations against Iran, as well as its approach to the terrorist Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen meant Tehran was unwilling to cooperate with Washington.

"We believe the Americans are acting politically in the war against terrorism, and differentiating between different groups undermines this war," he said.

"Israeli state terrorism is acceptable. The Israeli wall is acceptable. But Palestinian kids throwing stones are treated as terrorists. And now the U.S. is using the hypocrites as a tool," he added, referring to the People's Muhjahedeen.

The People's Mujahedeen set up base in neighboring Iraq in 1986 and carried out regular cross-border raids into Iran. They are now confined by U.S. troops to a military-run camp in western Iraq.

The United States confirmed Monday it had granted protected status under the Geneva Convention to nearly 4,000 members of the group.

"We are ready to combat terrorism, but rules should be set and adhered to. Within such a framework of mutual respect we could be in one camp fighting terrorism," Mohammadi said."

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