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Asefi: US senators' resolution an interference in Iran's internal affairs

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here on Sunday lashed out at the recent draft resolution presented by a number of US senators against Iran as a "cliche devised for the American internal consumption", stressing that the effort was an interference in Iran's internal affairs, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Speaking to Iranian and foreign reporters at his weekly news conference, he said that the draft resolution drawn up by the US senators is an explicit interference in Iran's internal affairs.

"Given that Iran has had a rich culture and civilization since ancient times, such prescriptions will no longer work," he added.

He recommended the American senators to prevent the US government from practicing unilateralism worldwide and a possible anti-Iraq war, instead of drawing up such drafts.

Referring to the extension of US sanction against Iran, he said, "The measure falls within the framework of the United States' unreasonable policies towards Iran, which are doomed to failure."

"Iran will materialize its plans by relying on domestic potentials and cooperation with other world states," he added.

He reiterated that Iran's approach towards Iraq crisis is not likely to change and voiced the strong opposition of the country to war.

"President Mohammad Khatami has dispatched envoys to various world countries in line with Iran's anti-war policy and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is to visit Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the current week," he ended.

He dismissed any possible connection between the recent approach of the US senators and its effect on the second round of Iran-EU dialogue.

"Once the human rights supervision over Iran came to end, we started our negotiations with the EU based on equal terms. Meanwhile, agreement was reached between the two sides to continue the talks in one another's capitals," he noted.

In reply to a question on Iran's approach in case of Turkey's attack on Iraq and occupation of part of its soil and whether Iran still follows Kharrazi's proposal to hold a referendum in Iraq, he said, "We hope that Turkey will respect Iraq's territorial integrity."

"Given that the Turkish officials have already declared their respect for Iraq's territorial integrity, we accept their assertions and believe in them," he added.

He noted that various institutions, factions and states should still work on Kharrazi's proposed plan and that it is primarily aimed to help save Iraqi people from an imminent war.

Asked on the new wave of violations in the occupied lands, he said that the aggressive Zionist regime has martyred 60 Palestinians in the recent two weeks.

Asefi voiced Iran's condemnation of the measure and called it as an explicit symbol of state terrorism.

"Unfortunately Iraq crisis has deviated the attention of the world community from the disastrous events in the occupied lands and the US keeps on securing the illegal interests of the Zionist regime, as protection of Israeli interests and opposition to the world of Islam are relevant in the region as two explicit criteria of the US policy," he added.

Questioned about Russia's call on Iran to sign the annex to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he replied that Iran is ready for dialogue on the issue.

"However, it should first become clear what benefits would the addendum bear for Iran," he added.

On breaking ties with Argentina, he said, "Iran's charge d'affaires in Buenos Aires has been recalled to Tehran to examine the issue and our status will soon be declared."

Asked whether the recent exchange of prisoners of war (POW) between Iran and Iraq is the last one, he referred to a number of individuals missing-in-action, which will naturally be looked for.

Asefi opened his weekly press conference by declaring the current Iranian year (started March 21) as one full of active events for Iran.

"Besides, Iran has managed to develop more solid ties with various states, promote its anti-tension policy, build confidence and enter into joint cooperation with various Arab/Islamic regional and extra-regional states," he added.

Asefi also pointed out Iran's broadening of relations with the EU and outset of bilateral dialogues leading to signing of economic and trade agreements as positive measures taken in Iran-EU ties.

Referring to the main focus of Iran's foreign policy on developing strong relations with the major Asian states including Japan, China, Malaysia, India and Pakistan as well as others, he said that such ties are of utmost significance to Iran as a member of the Asian family.

"Iraq crisis and the sad issue of Palestine, which is overshadowed by the recent events associated with Iraq, and the significance given by Iran to both crises as well as similar ones in the world of Islam indicates our close attention to the regional and global problems," he noted.

The rights of Iranian expatriates is another issue of priority to the Foreign Ministry, which should be followed up seriously.

... Payvand News - 3/16/03 ... --

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