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U.S. Deplores Violence Against Demonstrators in Iran, Tehran condemns US 'interference'

Statement By The White House Press Secretary on Recent Demonstrations In Iran
(issued on June 14, 2003)

The United States views with great concern the use of violence against Iranian students peacefully expressing their political views. We are alarmed at reports of arrests and provocative actions taken against students by regime forces, and call upon the regime to protect the human rights of the students and to release those who have been arrested.

Iranians, like all people, have a right to determine their own destiny, and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom. It is our hope that the voice of the Iranian people and their aspirations for democracy and the rule of law will be heard.

Tehran condemns US 'interference' following unrest

Iran on Saturday came heavily on US for praising recent riots in Tehran and said American officials' statements constituted a "flagrant example of interference in Iran's internal affairs, IRNA reported from Tehran.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was cited as saying Thursday that "We applaud the Iranian people for calling attention to the destructive policies of the Iranian government, that do such a disservice to its population".

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said "these statements contradict international norms and American commitment to the Algeria Declaration".

"Selective dealing has become a typical feature of the American policy. They (US leaders) regard massive demonstrations in western countries and America itself as the result of democracy but they cite limited demonstrations in Tehran as being for democracy," he said.

Iranian leaders have already said that the demonstrations held by "a handful of individuals" were being orchestrated by Washington.

"The enemies openly support those adventurers who can become their mercenaries by disturbing people's security," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a gathering of jubilant people in Varamin, south of Tehran Thursday.

Asefi said, "Americans ignore people's presence in millions to welcome the leader and President (Mohammad Khatami), but they call the protests of a few individuals as the voice of the people."

He was apparently referring to another part of Boucher's statements that "it's our hope that the voice of the Iranian people and their call for democracy and the rule of law will be heard".

"Such statements are not new to us and the Iranian nation's memories from American officials and the disgraceful 1953 coup are not anything different," he said, referring to the US-led coup against the popular government of Mohammad Mosaddeq to reinstate Shah.

American officials have become promoters of lies in the international scene, Asefi said.

"Denying realities and interpreting events according to their wish constitute the current American policy and American officials, by vainly making an opportunistic exploitation, are intending to divert the Iranian nation from the progress path and undermine the country's independence," he added.

Recent riots have followed a peaceful gathering of students in protest to the possible privatization of universities, which officials have denied.

Gatherings were held at Tehran University dormitory on Thursday, which turned violent later and spread to the nearby streets. Officials have blamed "non-student" elements and "mercenaries" for the unrest.


Asefi also hit out at Washington for 'insisting on its whims' with respect to Iran's nuclear energy programs.

"America's persistence is aimed at pressuring the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and influence its report," the official said in reference to a much-expected meeting of the agency's board of governors on June 16 to report on Tehran's nuclear plans.

Asefi reiterated that "Iran's nuclear programs are totally transparent and its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency will not be affected by these pressures".

Iran says its nuclear programs are transparent and peaceful, aimed at producing 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years when the country's oil and gas reserves become overstretched.

Washington charges that the programs were a cover to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

... Payvand News - 6/15/03 ... --

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