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Kharrazi says Iran will not mediate between US, Iraqis

Tehran, April 16, IRNA -- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi here on Friday rejected as baseless speculations that Iran would mediate between the US and the Iraqis to resolve the crisis in the country. "How can one mediate between the Iraqi people and the occupiers?," Kharrazi stressed in a statement faxed to IRNA.

"The legitimate demand of the Iraqi people is that occupation forces quickly withdraw troops from Iraq."

Kharrazi had earlier on Wednesday announced that the US has asked Iran to help ease tension in Iraq, stressing that Tehran and Washington had "many correspondence" through the Swiss Embassy to that effect.

He had stressed that Iran would spare no effort to help improve the situation in Iraq.

"The best thing that the occupation forces can do is transferring power to the Iraqi people as soon as possible," Iran's foreign minister added in the statement.

Kharrazi said Iran cannot be indifferent toward Iraq's developments as well as the instability and the killings of the Iraqi people.

Iran on Wednesday dispatched a diplomatic delegation to Baghdad to find solutions to the critical situation in Iraq.

The five-member delegation was headed by Foreign Ministry Director General for Persian Gulf Affairs Hossein Sadeqi expected to meet with senior Iraqi religious authorities, members of the Governing Council and political leaders.

Kharrazi said the delegation had been sent to Iraq at Iran's initiative and was on a fact-finding mission to the country. He added that the delegation would debate the crisis with Iraq's religious and political officials, and would also caution the coalition forces about continuing the occupation.

Only hours after the delegation arrived in Baghdad, unknown assailants shot dead Khalil Na'imi, the first secretary of the Iranian Embassy in Iraq, outside the embassy compounds. This, however, failed to undermine the mission of Iran's delegation after Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters that Sadeqi would stay in Iraq until a solution is found to resolve the crisis.

... Payvand News - 4/16/04 ... --

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