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Rafsanjani stresses Iran's impartiality in Iraq's affairs

Substitute Friday Prayers leader Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday dismissed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's claim in Basra Thursday that Iran and Syria interfered in Iraq's internal affairs, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Rafsanjani said Blair's claims on Thursday were based on reports by a British parliamentarian that ulema in Basra opposed alcoholic drinks and non-observation of Islamic dress code by women and also based on the report of the US civilian administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer that Iran was sending humanitarian relief aid to Iraq to deceive Iraqi people.

"I am surprised with head of a big state, clad in "white", to raise such a "black" statement," said Rafsanjani in his weekly Friday prayers sermons at Tehran University campus.

He reiterated falsehood of Blair's claims, saying, "First of all, Iraqi people feel themselves strongly committed to their religion and faith; if they (Iraqis) observe the Islamic dress code and refuse to drink liquors, are Iranians responsible?

"Secondly, you (Britain and the US) did not help Iraqi people under critical conditions but Iranians did assist them; such claims would be highly silly if were based on such a logic."

He said, "That's the right of Iraqi people to have a role in their internal affairs; if they do not have a role, that's questionable."

Rafsanjani said Iraqi people may today prefer freedom from Saddam's nastiness to all hardships and difficulties but this might not last long.

Iraq today suffers a vacuum, requiring formation of legal, social and political institutions, so that the Iraqi nation would decide on their bases, he said.

Rafsanjani expressed doubt with the UN Security Council's recent approval which allowed the US to manage some of its holdings in Iraq.

He said, "That's surprising to see certain powers, who used to strongly oppose war on Iraq and have a veto right at the Security Council, passing such a resolution."

He added that Tehran expects the said states to provide justifications on the issue.

He deplored the current conditions in Iraq and said unfortunately occupiers feel themselves not responsible to guarantee security, health, nutrition, welfare and education of Iraqi people, something that is questionable.

Rafsanjani said the US had offered many pledges to Iraqi citizens, including freedom, establishment of a democratic system, and holding of elections, but today it says it will remain in Iraq as long as it deems it necessary.

He said despite all the cases that the US feels itself not responsible, the country has not been negligent of Iraq's oil resources and the companies, that seem to have a role in Iraq's rebuilding process.

He warned that the US wants to abuse the atmosphere of horror and intimidation, that it has created, so as to end the problem with Palestine in favor of Israel. "Palestinians should be aware so as not to be deceived by a big trick in the name of peace," warned Rafsanjani.

The Expediency Council chairman pointed to the US-backed `Roadmap' plan for peace in the Middle East and also to the visit of US President George W. Bush to the region next week, saying, "If they think they would be able to deceive Palestinians through such moves, they have made a big mistake; this is a step backward not forward."

He said the injustices in the case of Palestinian people under the US and British support would raise public wrath.

He added that any one attempting to move in the line of peace, should be impartial and observe justice because he would not be immune to the God's and public wrath.

Rafsanjani also thanked participants in the 30th Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Tehran (May 28-30) for their presence both in the meeting and in this week's Friday prayers congregation, hoping that the session would serve as a prelude for adoption of better measures in the world of Islam in the present age.

... Payvand News - 5/30/03 ... --

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