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Iranian FM: Iraqi PM to visit Tehran

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Tuesday announced that Iraq's Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has been invited to pay an official visit to Iran, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Speaking to IRNA at Tehran's Mehrabad airport after seeing off Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmoud Kasuri, he referred to the Iranian diplomat, Fereydoun Jahani, kidnapped in Karbala and said that the issue is being followed up.

"In a telephone conversation on Tuesday morning, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that the interim government is investigating Jahani's kidnapping and will inform us as soon as any progress is achieved," he added.

Turning to the claims of Iraq's Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan against Iran, he said that he discussed the issue in a phone conversation with Zebari.

"Zebari regretted al-Shalaan's remarks and said that it does not reflect the official view of the Iraqi government," he added.

Underlining that Iraq's government is aware that such remarks are not in line with the interests of either country, the minister described sowing the seed of discord between the two nations as a blunder.

"Such approaches reflect the problems within Iraq's interim government, which can be solved once the government specifies its speaker," he concluded.

Iraqi vice president distances himself from Iran blame

London, Aug 10, IRNA -- Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim Jaafari has distanced himself from attempts, led by Defense Minister Hazem Shalaan al-Khuzaei to blame Iran for the upsurge of violence in the holy city of Najaf.

The views of the government are expressed by the president and prime minister and not by other ministers, Jaafari said in an interview with IRNA on Monday night.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said that Iraq wanted to improve relations with Iran and other neighboring countries. Relations, he said, must be built on mutual interests and respecting sovereignty.

Shalaan has claimed that Iranian weapons had been found among insurgents in Najaf. He has also previously described Iran as being Iraq's first enemy.

Jaafari was speaking during a visit to London, in which he meet Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane on Monday to discuss plans to nominate Iraq's National Assembly next week.

Talks also included Iraq's recent decision to reintroduce capital punishment, which Britain has opposed, and on the deteriorating security situation in the country.

... Payvand News - 8/10/04 ... --

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