Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Iran defense minister slams Iraq equal - (United Press International)

Iran defense minister slams Iraq equal - (United Press International): "Iran defense minister slams Iraq equal

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani Tuesday rejected as nonsense accusations by his Iraqi counterpart that Iran is Iraq's worst enemy. 'The remarks made by the Iraqi defense minister do not reflect the opinion of the Iraqi people,' Shakhani was quoted as saying by the Iranian News Agency, IRNA.

He said Iraq's Hazem Shaalan was speaking out of inexperience because Iran looks forward to a future Iraq, 'which is united, independent and ruled by a popular government elected by the people and living in peace with its neighbors.' He denied as untrue Shaalan's accusations that Iran interfered in Iraq's internal affairs by backing Shiite rebels led by radical cleric Moqtada Sadr. 'There is no logical evidence or any official document to authenticate Shaalan's accusations,' Shamkhani said, urging his Iraqi counterpart 'not to repeat the unsuccessful experience' of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein by antagonizing Iraq's neighbors. 'Such attitude does not serve the interests of the countries in the region,' he added."

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