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Iran recalls diplomats from Iraq, closes embassy in Baghdad

Iran has recalled all its diplomats and their families from Iraq, closing its embassy in Baghdad due to the ongoing Iraqi crisis, IRNA reported from Tehran on Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here on Wednesday advised Iranian nationals to avoid making unnecessary trips to Kuwait, calling on the nationals, whose stay in that country is not necessary, to return home.

Asefi said Iran has made necessary coordination with Saudi Arabia to let the Kuwait-based Iranians return home if conditions get worse or in case of possible unrest on Iranian borders with Iraq and Kuwait.

Following the pullout of Iranian diplomats from Iraq, the only diplomats remaining in Baghdad are Russians and Cubans, the apostolic nuncio, a Polish diplomat and several Arabs.

Iran's flag carrier, Iran Air, has also forecast a reduction in the number of its flights due to safety reasons.

Iran closed its borders with Iraq at the end of last month and recalled the last inspectors searching for the bodies of the Iranians martyred in the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war.

Tehran has called for Iraq's disarmament through the UN, voicing opposition to the US unilateral policy.

Refugee camps have been set up near the border to accommodate those fleeing from Iraq.

Use of force will bear no fruit: Ramezanzadeh

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh here on Tuesday evening said that the use of force and violence will not yield any positive result except more violence in the future.

Talking to IRNA, he stressed that conflicts in the 21st century are best resolved through peaceful negotiation.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is continuing efforts to forge a coalition that will defend regional peace, he said.

He noted that the region has had its share of political conflicts in the past two decades and would not take any more.

Tehran believes that the Iraqi people deserve support in enforcing their right to determine their own leaders without any domestic or foreign pressure, Ramezanzadeh further said.

Meanwhile, talking to a foreign news agency on Tuesday, the Iranian government spokesman said Tehran thinks it is high time US President George W. Bush acted according to reason and changed his mind in favor of peace.

The 48-hour ultimatum President Bush laid down for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave the country or face an attack has "no basis in law," he asserted.

"Bush's speech was devoid of any logic and his demand was against the principles of international law; I hope that the American government will finally see reason and listen to international public opinion," he said.

"No country has the right to use force to impose its will on another sovereign state," he told the news agency, adding that "War is legitimate only when it is authorized by the United Nations and for this reason we are against this war."

... Payvand News - 3/19/03 ... --

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