Monday, July 05, 2004

Rafsanjani: Iraqi interim gov`t should pave way for free elections

Rafsanjani:Iraqi interim gov`t should pave way for free elections: "Rafsanjani: Iraqi interim gov`t should pave way for free elections

Tehran, July 5, IRNA-- Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Sunday evening that the Iraqi interim government should prepare the necessary arrangements for a free and broad-based elections in that country.

Rafsanjani made the remark in a meeting with the visiting UN special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, who is currently here to discuss the latest regional developments. Describing Saddam`s trial as a put-up job, Rafsanjani said the process of this court and ignoring the legitimate rights of Iran in Saddam`s indictment regarding the crimes committed by his regime against the Iranian nation do not correspond with the spirit of the Iraqi people`s sovereignty over their fate.

This is an indication of "direct and practical US interference", he said. "It is the duty of the United Nations not to let the rights of the Iranian nation be trampled on," he said. Earlier, Rafsanjani said in his Friday Prayer sermons that the weakest point in Saddam`s trial is that his crimes against Iran have not been included in his indictment. "Is the fact that there are currently 100,000 Iranians suffering from chemical wounds ... not the result of Saddam`s crimes?," he asked.

If the Iraqi court refuses to deal with this issue, then this shows that the US has ordered the case to be so. This is because Saddam`s war on Kuwait has been raised while his war on Iran has not been included in his indictment, he noted. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here Sunday Iran will file a complaint with the court trying Saddam Hussein on the crimes he committed against the Iranian nation. Referring to the future elections in Iraq, the Expediency Council chairman said holding free elections should be given top priority in the trend of activities in the country. Any move to postpone the elections in Iraq would create more problems, Rafsanjani stressed.

He also laid emphasis on reinforcing the UN role in Iraq and preparing grounds for speeding up withdrawal of the occupying forces from that country. Rafsanjani went on to say that Iran will support holding broad-based elections in Iraq and accelerating transfer of power in the country so that it would enable the Iraqi people to obtain full sovereignty over their country and its natural resources. Any decision made for the Iraqi people without considering the realities of that country would bear no positive results, the chairman warned.

He stressed the importance of an active role played by Iraq`s neighboring countries to restore security and stability in that country. The UN envoy described as very complicated the situation in Iraq and briefed Rafsanjani on UN plans for Baghdad. Iraqi people have suffered great hardships as a result of two wars waged against Iran and Kuwait and the US invasion under Saddam`s dictatorial rule, he said adding it can be said for short that Iraq has been really demolished.

Criticizing the occupiers` policies in Iraq and the contradictory policy they have been following in that country, Brahimi noted that anarchy and absence of organization is clearly visible in Iraq. The UN special envoy added that Iraq`s neighboring countries should find a united approach so that it would give assurance to the Iraqi nation.

People of Iraq are pessimistic toward the policies adopted and slogans given by the occupying forces and believe that they (the occupying forces) are after their own interests and not after liberalization of the Iraqi people or destroying weapons of mass destruction.

Brahimi described Tehran`s stands toward Baghdad as positive and praised Iran`s efforts aimed at helping to restore peace and stability in the country.

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