Saturday, August 28, 2004

Iran wants calm in Iraq

Iran wants calm in Iraq: "Iran wants calm in Iraq
28/08/2004 18:18 - (SA)

Tehran - President Mohammad Khatami asserted on Saturday that Iran was not stirring violence in Iraq even though he acknowledged that relations with the United States were at a low point.

"The policy of Iran is to solve the problems of Iraq. We want calm in that country.

"We have problems with the United States, but we will never impose these problems on Iraqis," he said in a press conference.

"Despite the unfriendly comments by some members of the Iraqi government and senseless comments, we have recognised the formation of this government as a steps towards establishing democracy," he added.

"Despite the arrests of pilgrims and the accusations against them," he went on to say, Iran was adopting a policy of restraint "to avoid additional problems in Iraq".

"Today even the Americans know that without our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq they cannot do anything," the president said, without elaborating.

Iran and the United States cut off diplomatic relations in 1980.

In January last year, US President George W Bush lumped the Islamic republic into an "axis of evil" due to its alleged support of terrorism and quest for weapons of destruction.

Members of the Iraqi interim government have also echoed allegations from Washington that Iran is supporting insurgents in Iraq.

But when asked if he had a preference for US President George W Bush or his Democratic Party challenger John Kerry, Khatami only replied that "the policy of the United States towards Iran over the past 26 years has always been bad".

"But the wall of mistrust between the two countries has never been higher since the arrival in power of the (Bush administration) neo-conservatives who have enflamed the world with their policies," he added.

According to Khatami, US policy towards Iran "never stops getting worse".

"We hope the Americans will prevent the adventurism of their leaders. The problem is not changing the men, but changing the policies.

"The United States wants Iran to sit down at the negotiating table in the position of the accused, but no independent country in the world would accept such a thing," Khatami asserted.

Edited by Elmarie Jack"

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