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Iranian President: Democratic election in Iraq serves national sovereignty

Tehran, Nov 17, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that Iran supports Iraqi national sovereignty which would be achieved by holding democratic election.

He told reporters that Iran does not consider negotiations with Washington on Iraqi crisis, because, before any negotiations, Washington should change its methods of dealing with Iran.

"The US policy has caused losses to Iraqi people and the other nations in the region and Iraq. According to the American experts, the US is engaged in quagmire of Iraq. We are ready to help the US get out of the current trouble, because, we want to help salvage the Iraqi nation," President Khatami said.

Asked about his views about re-election of President George W. Bush, he said, "I hope, Mr. Bush will take lesson from his experience and deal with the problems in a way not to inflict losses on other nations opting for the best methods to secure long-term interests of the American people.

"We think that Iran has longstanding and deep relations with Iraq and it is impossible to resolve the Iraqi crisis without taking into account the views of the Iranian government. It has nothing to do with the so-called Iranian interference," he said.

"We favor peace and security in Iraq and we will do our best to help restore peace and establish a democratically elected government in Iraq," President Khatami said.

On his proposal to the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting ahead of the US-UK invasion of Iraq, the president said that no one was satisfied with Saddam's rule, but, occupation was not the solution. The Iraqi nation suffered heavy human losses and tragedy from the occupation, he said.

"Washington did not accept the proposal because of its arrogant attitude and all the predictions Iran had made about Iraq has currently come true. We see that a great tragedy has been imposed on Iraqi people whose magnitude is heavier than those inflicted by Saddam."

He said that continued occupation of Iraq prepared the ground for terrorism and abduction in Iraq so the neighboring states and the members of the United Nations Security Council are expected to study the case.

"We welcome such a development, but, it does not mean that we are going to negotiate with Washington," President Khatami said.

Responding to a question about the upcoming presidential election in Iran, he said that 'free election' and 'free competition' should be held to elect the next president. Otherwise, the people will become disappointed and other problems will arise, President Khatami said.

... Payvand News - 11/17/04 ... --

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