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Iran, US exchanging views through Swiss Embassy to help resolve Iraq crisis

Tehran, April 14, IRNA -- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Wednesday that Iran and the United States are exchanging views through Swiss Embassy to help ease tension in Iraq.

He told reporters after a cabinet meeting that Iran is not ready to hold direct talks with Washington.

Asked why Iran is not interested in direct talks with the US, Kharrazi said that negotiations with the US will get nowhere, because, the US makes promises, but, does not keep it.

"Currently, the Americans have opted for wrong direction, but, they should enter into consultations with neighboring states," Kharrazi said.

He pointed to meetings of Iraq's neighboring states held so far and said that Iraqi neighbors could have provided the Americans with consultations about Iraq and the spirit of Iraqi people of which Washington is unaware.

He dismissed the report that the US and the three (big) European countries have forwarded a letter to Iran through Swiss Embassy and said that the Swiss Embassy has nothing to do with the Europeans. The Swiss Embassy usually acts as intermediary between Iran and the US, because it is in charge of the United States interest section in Iran, he said.

"We have had many correspondence with Washington which also concern about Iraq and subsequently, the US has asked Iran to help ease tension in Iraq. We spare no effort to help improve situation in Iraq," Kharrazi said.

Responding to a question about enrichment of uranium in Iran, he said that for the time being Iran has voluntarily suspended the program and will continue this until its safety standard was examined free from political motives.

He categorically rejected US allegations about Iran's interference in Iraq and speculations that Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr has sought refuge from Iran.

"Iran does not interfere in Iraqi affairs and hopes that transfer of power to Iraqi people will take place soon," Kharrazi said.

A reporter of an Arabic speaking news network asked about allegation of Iraq-based US commanders about absence of cooperation from Iran to help ease tension in Iraq, Kharrazi said such allegation is not new.

"Iran is making every effort to help improve the situation in Iraq and the US commanders are levelling such allegation to find a scapegoat for the trouble," he said.

"Iran regards withdrawal of the occupying troops from Iraq as the only solution to the Iraq crisis, but, the US commanders are seeking other excuses for their mistakes.

"Certain US officials speak about Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs, but, some others say not. That's right. Iran is not interfering in Iraq."

He said that Iraqi religious leader Ayatollah Sistani has already forwarded warnings to the occupying forces and Iran hopes that the US forces will refrain from doing more mistakes which may mobilize the Muslim world against the occupying forces.

"Iraqi crisis will be resolved through wisdom and contemplation. The big mistake with the American forces is that they believe they can deal with Iraqi people with the same tactic they dealt with Saddam Hussein," Kharrazi said.

... Payvand News - 4/15/04 ... --

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