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Iran denies receiving 'strong-worded' message from US: press

Tehran, April 12, IRNA -- Iran has denied receiving a written message from the United States, allegedly warning Tehran against interfering in Iraq's affairs, press reports said Monday.

"Iran has not received any strong-worded letter, demanding that it give up interfering in Iraq's internal affairs," newspapers on Monday quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.

His statements came in reaction to reports published in several Arab newspapers, alleging that Washington had warned Tehran to steer clear of Iraq, which has seen an upsurge in violence in recent days.

Top US officials have conceded that there was no evidence of the Islamic Republic's involvement in any case of insurgency operations across Iraq.

"We've seen, generally speaking, reports of suggestions of Iranian involvement, collusion, provocation, coordination, et cetera. But I think there's a dearth of hard facts to back these things up," US State Department deputy spokesman Adam Erely has said. The official, quoted by American media, was commenting on reports that Iran was targeting provocative radio broadcasts at Iraqi insurgents.

Iranian press on Monday also cited claims by Abu Dhabi television channel, alleging that Iran's top diplomat in Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, had left Baghdad on the order of the interim Governing Council. "The provisional Governing Council of Iraq has asked Hassan Kazemi Qomi to leave the country for what has been described as his link to recent developments in Iraq," the press quoted the channel as saying.

On Friday, Qomi dismissed as 'rumours' reports that he had been expelled from Iraq.

"It is wrong. I am here. I am working. It is only a rumour," AFP quoted Qomi as saying at the Iranian embassy in central Baghdad.

... Payvand News - 4/12/04 ... --

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