Wednesday, July 21, 2004

US claim on 9/11 link false, says Iran

US claim on 9/11 link false, says Iran: "US claim on 9/11 link false, says Iran


TEHRAN, JULY 20: Iran today termed "fictitious" the allegations from US President George W. Bush that it was harbouring Al Qaeda leaders and could have been linked to the 9/11 attacks.

"Any claim regarding Iran's direct or indirect relationship with the September 11 terrorist incidents is merely fabricated and fictitious," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement.

"When it comes to Al Qaeda, we act in line with our interests and our national security," Asefi asserted.
Iran was fiercely opposed to Afghanistan�s Taliban and Al Qaeda, and was a key backer of their opponents during the Afghan civil war. The Islamic Republic has consistently denied any links to Osama bin Laden�s group.
Bush's comments "As to direct connections with September the 11th, we're digging into the facts to determine if there was one" came after the acting CIA Director said at least eight of the hijackers who carried out the attacks passed through Iran but that Washington had no proof that Tehran backed the strikes.
Asefi said the view that this meant Iran had supported the hijackers was absurd. "What is ridiculous is that these claims come from a country that had itself issued official visas, residency permits and given pilot training to these people," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
He also said Bush's criticism of Iran's human rights record was "worthless", saying that the "pictures from Abu Ghraib prison are still in the minds of the international community". "


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