Friday, September 17, 2004

Daily Times - US fails to acknowledge Iranian Help in Afghanisan: Mohsen Rezai

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Region: US ‘regime change’ will not stop in Baghdad, says Iranian FM

TEHRAN: The United States’ aim of carrying out “regime change” will not stop in Baghdad, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said, accusing Washington of seeking to assure Israel’s regional dominance.

Quoted by the official news agency IRNA on Sunday, Kharazi said the United States was “seriously preparing for a war against Iraq”.

“United States policy is not limited to Iraq, as the Americans want to change a number of regimes in the region so that Israel will be dominant,” the foreign minister said, without saying which governments were next on Washington’s list.

“Every country must try to prevent the United States from attacking, by resolving the Iraq problem by diplomatic means,” he added.

But Kharazi said he was confident the United States would not attack Iran, which US President George Bush has lumped into an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea.

“The United States will not attack Iran, because Iran is not Iraq and has not violated any international rules,” Kharazi asserted. “The US is trying to strike blows against us and does constitute a threat for our country, but this does not mean they will attack us militarily.”

Officially, Iran is opposed to a US attack on Iraq despite national loathing of its President Saddam Hussein and Tehran’s support for Iraqi opposition groups. The two neighbours fought a 1980-1988 war. Meanwhile Mohsen Rezai, a top member of the Expediency Council — Iran’s top political arbitration body — hit out at Washington for failing to recognise Iran’s support during the war against the Taliban.

“The Americans understood that after Afghanistan, they had committed errors in their attitude to Iran. But that is not to say that after Iraq, they will not turn on Iran,” he was quoted as saying in local press. Iran played a key role in the ouster of the Taliban and the formation of the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai, only to find itself branded as “evil” by Bush.

“The American army did not give correct information on the role of the Northern Alliance and Iran to American leaders, who did not understand that without Iranian help, the war in Afghanistan would have lasted months and would have caused much more damage to the Afghan people, America and all the region,” Rezai argued. —AFP


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