Iran News ...


4/28/03

Iran FM spokesman: MKO issue not a political case

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi stressed in Tehran on Monday that the issue of Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) is not a political case, IRNA reported.

"The United States and Europe should take into account the fact that the issue of Mujahedeen is a military-security case and is not a political one at all as some countries believe," Asefi told reporters at his weekly press briefing.

"The terrorist Mujahedeen grouplet has committed numerous crimes in Iran before being settled in our neighborhood and conducted military activities. They sided with president Saddam Hussein," he added.

Pointing to a compromise between the United States and MKO, the spokesman said that an understanding with this terrorist network is impossible and unacceptable.

He said the organization should take the responsibility for the crimes they have perpetrated in Iran and Iraq and added the US should act according to Resolution 1373 and deal with them accordingly.

Asked about Iran's stance on the recent remarks of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has urged Tehran and Damascus not to disrupt the formation of a Palestinian state, Asefi said the Islamic Republic always believes an independent Palestinian state should be formed but the meaning of such Palestinian government must be clarified.

"Iran welcomes any measure that helps the Palestinian people take back their lands and believes the international circles should support this cause until the liberation of all occupied territories.

"We believe the Palestinian refugees should return to their homeland and the Muslims should determine the fate of Holy Qods, their first Qibla," Asefi said.

Asefi reiterated the main obstacle in the way of restoration of peace in the Middle East is the expansionist policies of the Zionist regime.

In response to a question posed on contradictory stance made by Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev on Iran's atomic activities and claims that Iran has purchased required devices for production of atomic bomb from various countries, he said that Russian should provide explanations about such contradictory statements. However, he said, Iran's activities are very transparent.

Iran has not purchased any devices for production of atomic bomb and only seeks peaceful use of atomic energy for the welfare of its citizens, he said, adding "we have a very sincere cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency and have invited Mohamed ELBaradei to inspect Iran's facilities and installations.

"If we were determined to conduct our activities secretly, our president would not have said a word on our activities at the highest level."

Some hostile circles are trying to distort realities in a bid to attain their objectives, Asefi said.

Concern at US/UK support for MKO terrorist group

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has accused the US and UK of double standards by giving tacit support for the Iraq-based Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) terrorist group, IRNA reported from London.

"This continuing blind-eye shown by the US and the UK governments towards MKO activities within their borders and in US-administered Iraq exhibits not only a shameful lack of consistency but a complete deficit of ethical motivation," the London-based commission said.

It expressed its deep concern about the ceasefire declared last week between US forces and the anti-Iranian terrorist group, saying it was the "latest inconsistent application of the definition of terrorism" by Washington and its allies.

IHRC voiced further alarm that the MKO had been allowed to retain their weapons and compared the US support for the terrorist group against action taken in Iraq against other groups, like Ansar al- Islam.

It reminded the US and UK that they had both designated the MKO as a terrorist group, for carrying out bombings around the world. It had a long-established status as a proxy of Saddam Hussein's regime and participated in the brutal crushing of Iraq's 1991 post-war uprising.

The IHRC, set up as an independent human rights research organisation in 1997 for both Muslims and non-Muslims, said that it fears that the MKO will be granted "carte blanche the freedom to continue its terrorist activities."

It also expressed alarm about Britain and America's duplicity and the "message it will send out to the wider Middle East in this critical period."

The MKO was first designated in 1997 by the US Secretary of State as a terrorist group among 30 foreign organisations that "engage in terrorist activities that threaten the security of the United States." In Britain, it was proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Asefi warns Iranian pilgrims not to make visits to Iraq

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi on Monday warned Iranian pilgrims not to visit Shiite holy shrines in Iraq, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Addressing reporters, he stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no plan to dispatch any pilgrims to the holy sites in Iraq until an Iraqi government is established.

During a conference of Iraqi dissident groups which opened in Baghdad this morning, he said that the Iraqi groups may decide themselves whether to take part in the confab or not.

"The Islamic Republic does not interfere in Iraqi domestic affairs," he stressed.

Reiterating the need for a democratic government to be established in the war-torn country, he expressed the hope that the Iraqi people would be given the right to decide their future government.

"We should wait and see what the Baghdad confab will decide and whether it will move in line with the aspirations of the people or not," Asefi said.

Daily highlights Iran's genuine desire to see stability in Iraq

`Iran News' on Monday highlighted Iran's genuine desire to see stability take hold in Iraq after years of uncertainty under a tyrannical regime, IRNA reported.

Obviously, "any form of destabilization in the western neighboring country could lead to disintegration, which is clearly contrary to Iran's security, territorial integrity and national sovereignty," the daily, in its editorial, stressed.

Riding high on its victorious ousting of Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration now is hurling unfounded allegations against the Islamic Republic, accusing it of sending Iranian intelligence agents across the border into Iraq to instigate a rebellion among its mainly Shia population and foment instability.

The fact that "the main Shiite Iraqi opposition group, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI), has been recently shunned by the Americans despite previous agreements to include them in the make-up of a post-Saddam government suggests Washington's intentions to exclude the (group) from the post-war government," pointed out the daily.

Needless to say, the Shias feel betrayed. The US should be ashamed for reneging on its promise and for openly calling for a democratic government in Iraq that represents the will of all minority groups while attempting to exclude the Shias who constitute the majority.

For decades Iraq's Shiite majority community had been silenced by Saddam Hussein, deprived even of the right to practice religious freedom not to say their rightful role in the government of their country, pointed out the daily.

"It is only natural that they (Shiites) are unhappy with the Americans because they are perceived to be trying to once again betray the long held and legitimate hopes of the Shiites to play a major role in their country's political developments," it said.

The Shiites, which constitute over 65 percent of the total population in Iraq, have been cheated and tricked thrice in the past century--once by the Ottoman Turks, then by the British after the end of World War I, and over the last three decades by the brutal Baathists, the daily recalled.

"How is it that the Americans allow Turkey to insist upon Iraq to respect the rights of the very tiny Turkmen minority in northern Iraq but expect Iran not to support the Shiites of Iraq?" asked the daily.

In various jurisdictions, the term "democracy" has been defined and interpreted in many ways. But in terms of the accepted law of nations, "democracy is the rule of the majority while preserving the rights of the minority," highlighted the paper.

The concept of "one man, one vote" constitutes the very essence of democracy. In other words, it is the right of the Iraqi people to demand a free election so that they can have the government of their choice.

Iran health ministry to dispatch medicines, doctors to Iraq

Iran's Health Ministry said in Tehran on Sunday that it has decided to extend health services to the Iraqi people, IRNA reported.

It said that it will dispatch medicines and doctors to Iraq from both the governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

It added that the health services will focus on preventive health, adding that the ministry will also dispatch manpower to extend medical treatment for the Iraqi patients at six clinics and one hospital in that country.

The medicines and doctors will be dispatched to the holy cities of Karbala, Najaf and other Iraqi cities, the ministry said.

It said that the health ministry will also admit patients in critical conditions form Iraq to receive medical treatment in Iranian hospitals.

... Payvand News - 4/28/03 ... --



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