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Do not read too much into US threats against Iran, says Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday played down US military threats against Iran and Syria, suggesting that too much should not be read into the warnings to extend the Iraq war, IRNA reported from London.

"What we have said to Syria and Iran is that it is important they do not provide military help to people who are engaged in action against coalition forces," Blair told MPs.

"I think that is a perfectly reasonable position and I would not, if I can say this respectfully to my honorable friend, read anymore into the situation than that," he said.

The British prime minister was responding to a question from Labor MP Malcolm Savage, who asked Blair to impress upon the Bush Administration that he was not setting a precedent in Iraq for future wars by demanding regime change in Syria and Iran.

When first questioned last week about the alarm raised by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about extending the war against Iraq, Blair denied there were any plans to target Iran and Syria next.

The prime minister stressed to MPs the importance of staying in constant contact with Tehran to ensure the situation was 'not exacerbated in any way'.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also distanced the British government from the US threats, saying there was 'no case whatsoever for taking any action' against Iran.

He said that it would 'worry me if it was true' that Iran and Syria were being lined up by the US as the next military target after Iraq.

German MP rules out European support for US threats against Iran

A leading deputy of the conservative opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party here Wednesday ruled any likely European support for the latest American military threats against Iran, IRNA reported from Berlin.

"I don't believe in an imminent US threat and danger against Iran and Syria. Even if it was, Europeans, including the Brits, would not back such threats," Friedbert Pflueger told IRNA during a meeting with the Berlin-based foreign media.

A member of the foreign affairs committee, Pflueger hailed Iran's political system as a democratic model for the rest of the Islamic countries in the Middle East.

"Of all the countries in the Mideast region, Iran enjoys democracy to a large extent and could serve as an alternative to people in other Arab and Islamic countries who are living under despotic regimes," the MP added.

Pflueger said he planned to visit Iran this year, in an effort "to become more familiar with the latest political developments inside Iran".

... Payvand News - 4/9/03 ... --

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