President Mohammad Khatami and visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio on Saturday exchanged views about Tehran-Madrid relations and the current developments in the region, IRNA reported from Tehran.
President Khatami emphasized the need for boosting bilateral cooperation and help international peace and security as well as stability in the sensitive Middle East region.
The president deplored US military presence in the region in the name of bringing democracy and said that the United States has proved its hypocrisy in international diplomacy.
"Democracy is not a gift to come from overseas. It should be fostered within the core of the nations," President Khatami said.
"Unfortunately, presence and interference of foreign forces in the region in the past several centuries, has driven the process of democracy to a dead-end," Iranian president said.
He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran opposes war in Iraq and mass killing of innocent Iraqi civilians and sees the consequences of the ongoing war as being against international security and the interests of the western nations.
"Iraqi people don't consider the coalition forces as their savior. The current war in Iraq will help flourish extremism and violence in the world. Terror and violence are to the detriment of all nations which will bring bleak and gloomy prospects for the entire world," President Khatami pointed out.
"Iraqi government should represent the Iraqi people emanating from the will of every Iraqi individual so, only the Iraqi people have the right to decide their own fate," Khatami said in reference to the US plan to set up a military government in Iraq led by army general Jay Garner.
President Khatami said that the international community should remedy the wounds inflicted on the United Nations by the current (unauthorized) war in Iraq and the UN should undertake active role by ending bloodshed and further losses to the prestige of the United Nations and international peace.
The president said Iran looks for an opportunity to extend humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.
On Iran-Spain relations, President Khatami said that the two countries have longstanding diplomatic and economic cooperation and recalled his talks with Spanish officials on developing trade ties while his visit to Madrid last year.
On the process of democracy in Iran, President Khatami said that the Iranian people and government have made strides to foster democracy and economic and technical progress in the country.
Palacio, for her part, said that Spain is keen on exchanging views with Iran adding that despite the difference on certain issues, Spain is willing to develop cooperation with Iran on common grounds.
She said that Spain holds the same view as the Iranian president about the future of Iraq and said that Madrid supports Iraq's territorial integrity and free elections in Iraq to democratically form the next Iraqi government.
The Spain's foreign minister said that Spain backs better relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the European Union (EU) and Iran's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as academic exchanges between Iran and the EU.
Palacio delivered a message from King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Queen to President Mohammad Khatami in response to an invitation extended earlier by the president to visit Iran.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was present at the meeting.
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