Friday, August 06, 2004

Gulf Daily News

Gulf Daily News: "Rafsanjani warns over Najaf offensive
TEHRAN: Influential former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned the United States yesterday that its two-day offensive in the Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Najaf might prompt suicide bombings.
'Every day you bomb, kill, jail, torture and destroy the homes of people in Palestine and in Iraq,' Rafsanjani told worshippers at the main weekly Muslim prayers in Tehran.
'Just the other day for the second time, you bombed the city of Najaf and targeted the mausoleum of Imam Ali,' he said, referring to the city's holiest shrine.
'There are angry, hurt and faithful people who are ready to sacrifice and blow themselves up to fight against tyrants,' Rafsanjani warned, to the customary chants of 'Death to America' from the congregation. 'Millions of hearts are bleeding,' he said.
Rafsanjani, who now chairs the Expediency Council - Iran's final arbiter of legislation - again mocked the rationale for last year's US-led invasion of Iraq.
'They came to become the king of oil and take as much cheap crude as they want from wells in the Persian Gulf but they ended up doubling the oil price from $23 (BD8.7) a barrel to $44 (BD16.6) to $45 (BD17),' he said.
Iran has provided no support to the Shi'ite radical militiamen who have battled US-led troops across central and southern Iraq since Thursday, favouring instead the mainstream Shi'ite religious parties, which have so far co-operated with the US-backed interim government."

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