Iran News ...


5/20/03

Iran is "very serious" against al Qaeda

Iran on Tuesday once again rejected the recent US remarks on the presence of al Qaeda operatives inside its territory, and refreshed vows to "seriously" confront the terror network, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi refuted the remarks by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that al Qaeda leaders are in Iran, adding that Iran has no links to the "fundamentalist and violent" network.

"In case of confronting the al Qaeda, Iran will act according to its programs and within the UN framework, as it did in extraditing the operatives of the group to their countries of origin that in several cases included western states," he said.

"Iran is `very serious' in confronting al Qaeda and the likes of the network."

Rumsfeld on Thursday said he had information that showed high-ranking al Qaeda operatives were hiding in Iran.

Asefi said the US is trying to divert the American public opinion from its internal problems and its failure to fight terrorism by lodging allegations against other nations.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman stressed that the Islamic Republic is not following any plans to open dialogue with the US.

Asefi had earlier on Friday strongly rejected US claims that Tehran sheltered leaders of al Qaeda, and that the country was on the track to produce arms of mass destruction.

"Such statements are at odds with the political literature and unbecoming of those who boast of being political," he had said.

"The repetition of such baseless claims cannot portray them as valid and credible," Asefi added.

Iran denies MKO charges, renews commitment to UN treaties on WMD

Iran on Tuesday rejected as baseless the recent allegations by the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) that Tehran is developing chemical weapons, and refreshed commitments to UN treaties banning such weapons, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"The charges by the MKO who was at the service of the regime of Saddam Hussein are too worthless for us to be worried about," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told his weekly press conference.

He said the Islamic Republic, even at the time that it fell victim to the Baghdad use of chemical weapons in the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war, never used such weapons against that country.

"We, as have previously declared, are never after the production of these weapons."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Asefi criticized the reported meeting between the Qatari and Israeli foreign ministers, stressing that such moves are not to the benefit of the Muslim world.

Asefi, speaking at his weekly press conference, said the meeting, if confirmed to have happened, has not been an appropriate measure.

"According to the previous decisions by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), any contact with the Zionist regime of Israel is banned," he said.

"Therefore, the meeting of the Qatari foreign minister with his Zionist counterpart has been inappropriate."

... Payvand News - 5/20/03 ... --



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