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Democracy in Iraq will benefit the entire region: Iranian analyst

"The present circumstances in Iraq creates a historic opportunity for bilateral Iran-Iraq legal ties to be reviewed and reiterated upon," said As'ad Ardalan, an expert in international law who spoke here concerning the legal aspects of the war in Iraq, IRNA reported from Tehran.

In an exclusive interview with `Iran News' published Sunday, Ardalan said: "We should do our utmost to receive the just compensation our country is owed by Iraq as a result of the brutal aggression suffered by this nation in the hands of Saddam Hussein."

Now that the war is over, he said Iran can play an important role in Iraq's reconstruction. Iran would clearly benefit from a democratic, peaceful and secure neighbor such as Iraq, he added.

"Iraq will forever be our neighbor and should try to develop amicable relations with that country," he said.

He maintained that a long-term military administration of Iraq by the US is highly unlikely, adding that the aim of General Jay Garner's administration is to increase pressure on Iraqi forces opposed to Saddam to quickly form a new government that is in line with American interests.

Ardalan further said that the immediate objectives of any US-installed interim administration in Iraq would be the deBaathification of Iraq, the arrest of Saddam's henchmen, signing of lucrative reconstruction and oil contracts with powerful US firms without resort to international tenders and, last but not least, trying to frighten Iraq's neighbors by flexing the American military towards the neighborhood.

On the anti-American protests in Iraq over the past few days, the jurist said: "I doubt very much that these protests will result in a crisis between the Iraqi nation and the US. Moreover, the Bush administration is weary of confrontation with the people of that country since such a development would give ammunition to certain groups and organizations to take advantage of the situation. If such incidents persist, Iraq is sure to become an unstable and insecure place for the Americans."

The toppling of Saddam's Baathist establishment in Iraq could give rise to huge political and social changes in the region. In the event Hussein's dictatorial government is replaced by a representative democratic system, Iraq's neighbors would surely benefit from the country's democratization, the analyst predicted.

Ardalan, alluding to Iraq's 220-billion-dollar international debt, said that it would be difficult for debtors to press their claims against the regime that takes over.

He was of the view that UN-imposed economic sanctions against Iraq should immediately be lifted since "those sanctions were imposed due to the behavior of Saddam and not on the long-suffering Iraqi people."

Keeping the sanctions in place when the regime it was intended to punish is no longer in place make no sense at all, he concluded.

... Payvand News - 4/27/03 ... --

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