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Iran to try any possible Iraqi leaders entering Iran

Iran said Monday it will arrest and prosecute any element of Iraq's Baath regime, including its leaders, who possibly cross into the Iranian territory, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"If they want to come legally, we will naturally reject it, but if they come illegally, we will try them because of the crimes they have committed against our people," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said.

Iraq invaded parts of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1980, imposing a destructive war which continued for eight years.

Tehran has taken a position of `active neutrality' in the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying it will not back one side or the other in the conflict.

The Islamic Republic, however, is among the staunchest opponents of the invasion and rejects a US-led government in Iraq.

"One of our stances regarding Iraq is that the country's future is left to the Iraqis to decide and outside countries leave that country," Asefi said.

However, "we are making our efforts that Iraq's future does not harm the region," the spokesman added.

"We are pursuing our own interests with regards to the Iraqi issue," Asefi said.

... Payvand News - 4/14/03 ... --

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