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Iran's President: Occupiers should refrain from attacking Najaf

Tehran, April 22, IRNA -- President Seyed Mohammad Khatami said here on Wednesday in a press conference that the occupying forces in Iraq should seriously refrain from attacking either Holy Najaf, or Karbala.

Speaking to Iranian and foreign journalists after his cabinet meeting, the president added, "Such an attack would be equal to committing suicide for the US-led coalition, and would mobilize all sensations in Islamic world against the occupiers."

The president all the same expressed certainty, "I do not think the occupiers would be so simple-minded to do such a thing."

In response to a question on his cabinet reshuffle, Khatami said, The minister of finance and the head of the Management and Planning Organization will be changed based on proposals made by Mr. Mazaheri, and Mr. Sattarifar (the current officials at those posts).

The president expressed satisfaction with both his first and his second cabinet, arguing, "On the contrary of those who consider this government as a weak one in economic field, I believe it has achieved much under the conditions with which it was entangled, resorting to the possibilities it had access to."

Further elaborating on the same issue, the president said, "I neither make faces at any one, nor bribe any body. I have to remain the top decision maker in this country for the next fourteen months, and what truly matters to me currently is the existence of full harmony in my team."

On his cooperation with the 7th Majlis, President Khatami said, "I move based on the guidelines provided for my cabinet in the country`s comprehensive plan, either with the 6th, or with the 7th parliament."

He added, "We have gone through four years of this plan. How could we abandon it at this point then?"

On the government`s campaign against financial corruption, he said, "The Intelligence Ministry has proceeded with a fine and comprehensive plan in that regard, without making unnecessary hue and cry."

President Khatami added, "A number of ministers are members of the Special Committee Against Financial Corruption, that has achieved satisfactory results so far, which have not been announced yet."

Turning back to Iraq case, President Khatami emphasized, "The continuation of Iraq`s occupation would be hazardous not only for all countries in the region, but for all occupiers, as well."

He added, "Grand Ayatollah Sistani`s policies are fully approved by Tehran, and we have recognized the interim Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Iran approves of the formal policies adopted by the IGC in Iraq."

Khatami expressed certainty that the root of certain harsh reactions on the part of the Iraqi nation has been the intriguing moves made by the occupiers, adding "Iran sent several messages, emphasizing that the chaotic conditions will subside once the origins of the intrigues would be eliminated."

The president said, "Iran continues its consultations with regional and European countries on Iraq, but has no intentions at all to interfere in Iraq`s internal affairs."

The head of the National Security Council said, "Iraq is our neighbor, and as all have confessed, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country enjoying stability in the region, has a significant, and continuous role in Iraq case."

He added, "We emphasized from the very beginning that instead of foreign interference, decision making on Iraq should be left to all its neighbors, and the United Nations, but unfortunately the US arrogance was a serious obstacle against the crystallization of that proposal."

President Khatami said, "Iran believes that the Shi`as are the majority of the Iraqi nation, but we have never said that the majority should take the lead there. In establishment of the future Iraqi political system each Iraqi should have one vote, and the resulting government would belong to the whole Iraqi nation."

He said, "The Shi`as, the Sunnies, the Kurds, the Turkmens, the Muslims and the non-Muslims should none be measurement stick in setting the foundations of the future Iraqi system."

On the government`s anti-inflation policies, the president said, "The government has been successful in harnessing the inflation."

He set example of the 16 percent inflation rate at the end of the 3rd development plan, that was lowered to 11.5 percent at the end of the past Iranian year (March 19, 2004).

President Khatami referred to setting a single rate for hard currency exchange as a great achievement for his government, saying, that policy was once tried in Iran, which resulted in a 50 percent inflation, and therefore reversed."

Khatami added, "A part of our economic reforms was presenting the single hard currency exchange rates, which worked well, and resulted in a one to two percent added inflation."

Addressing the Iranian nation, the president said, "Be sure that the currently pursued policies would result in lowering the inflation rate and fixing the commodities` prices."

On Iran-Egypt relations, Khatami said, "Egypt is a great country, whose relations with Iran had always been excellent. Today, too, the two nations` souls and cultures are closest to each other than ever before."

The president said, "Efforts have been made so that political differences would have least effects in cultural and economic ties."

Khatami said, "There are obstacles in resumption of political ties, but both countries are determined to solve them, and have taken steps in that direction, but none are in a hurry for normalizing relations, that will take place in good time."

... Payvand News - 4/22/04 ... --

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