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Iran has shown no leniency towards al-Qaeda members: Asefi

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran on Monday that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never shown leniency towards members of Al-Qaeda so far, IRNA reported.

Talking to reporters, he said that any Al-Qaeda member who is caught trying to enter Iranian territory will be arrested, investigated and expelled and that a number of Al-Qaeda members are currently under investigation in the country.

Iranian foreign policy is found on principles adhered to by the Islamic Republic and the country is not under any pressure from any group, he reiterated.

Referring to the remarks of Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy in Afghanistan, that senior Al-Qaeda members are in Iran, he said: "We do not know who these are. How can we say that they are senior members of Al-Qaeda or not?"

He said there are some Al-Qadea members in the country but that they are still to be investigated and identified.

Asked whether Al-Qaeda members have recently been arrested in the country, he said some suspected Al-Qaeda members have managed to enter Iranian territory illegally because of the country's long borders but that these have been arrested, deported or returned to their home country.

"Some of them who were holding dual citizenships were sent to some Arab states," he declared.

Asefi lashes out at US accusations against Iran

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi blasted the United States for its recent allegations against the Islamic Republic, calling them a "direct interference" in the domestic affairs of Iran.

Asefi said the charges and accusations have been prompted by US interventionist policies which contradict international law and legal precedents as well as the Algeria Agreement, which binds the US to avoid interfering in Iran's internal affairs.

The official further said that neither Tehran nor the international community will succumb to US pressure.

He further expressed hope US officials and politicians will stop interfering in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.

... Payvand News - 5/26/03 ... --

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