Monday, January 03, 2005 / US destabilizes Middle East by Giving Iraq to Iran - Jordan is Scared / News / World / Iran says meeting of Iraq's neighbors not necessary, apparently responding to Jordan accusation of interference: "Iran says meeting of Iraq's neighbors not necessary, apparently responding to Jordan accusation of interference
By Jamal Halaby, Associated Press, 1/3/2005 13:53

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) There is no reason for Iraq's neighbors to meet in Amman later this week, Iran's ambassador to Jordan said Monday, underscoring the strain in relations after Jordan's King Abdullah II accused Tehran of seeking to influence the upcoming Iraqi elections.

A day earlier, Tehran said Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi would not attend Thursday's meeting. Iran will be represented by one of its deputy foreign ministers, Golam Ali Khorsho, Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raja Sukayri told the official Jordanian news agency Pert on Monday.

Jordan has invited the foreign ministers of Iraq's other neighbors Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria and representatives from Iraq, Egypt and Bahrain to the meeting.

The U.N. special representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, also will attend, Sukayri told Petra.

''We don't believe there's a need for such a meeting now, at least not before the elections'' in Iraq, scheduled for Jan. 30, Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Irani said.

''What are we going to talk about? We discussed everything we needed to discuss in the November meeting,'' Irani added, referring to a ministerial meeting in Egypt.

Most of the Arab countries in the region have Sunni Muslim majority populations and are unsettled by the prospect of a Shiite Muslim-dominated government emerging from Iraq's Jan. 30 elections. Iraq's Shiite majority had been suppressed under Saddam Hussein.

Arabs in the region fear a Shiite regime in Iraq could both embolden their own Shiite communities and prompt Iraq to move closer to mainly Shiite Iran or adopt Iran's Islamic state.

Jordan's monarch said in an interview last month that more than 1 million Iranians have entered Iraq, many to vote in elections, and they were being encouraged by the Iranian government.

Iran called Abdullah's comments an insult to the Iraqi people."


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