Tehran, Nov 28, IRNA -- An Iranian deputy interior minister announced
Sunday Tehran's readiness to train Iraqi police and border guards as
well as help with the country's reconstruction.
The announcement came as Iran prepared to host a two-day meeting
of Iraq's neighbors on November 30 at interior minister level as part
of efforts to restore security in the war-torn country.
The head of the meeting, Ali Asghar Ahmadi, who is Iran's Deputy
Interior Minister for Security Affairs, stated that topics for
discussion will be 'Iraq's situation, control of common borders,
assistance to Iraqi border guards as well as cooperation among
neighboring countries and the Iraqi government'.
He said the interior ministers of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey,
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt as well as a representative of the
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will participate at the meeting.
"The inaugural ceremonies of the meeting will be on the afternoon
of Tuesday, and the meeting of the specialists and specialized
roundtables will be held Wednesday in the presence of the interior
ministers of Iraq and Egypt," Ahmadi added.
The official said bilateral as well as multilateral meetings will
be held on the sidelines of the meeting, including with Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami.
"The meeting will be wrapped up Wednesday with the release of a
statement," he said, adding 'fighting terrorism' as well as 'emphasis
on Iraq's independence and territorial integrity' are among the points
incorporated into the draft document.
Ahmadi touched on bilateral issues of Iran and Iraq, including
their security concerns because of terrorist activities inside the
war-torn country, which he said would be tackled at the meeting.
He said Iranian border guards are currently in charge of
guaranteeing security at the two countries' 1,609-kilometer common
"The Islamic Republic is ready to train Iraqi police and border
guards and even equip them as well as help with the country's
reconstruction," Ahmadi said.
"Cultural amenities among the Iranian and Iraqi nations,
geographical closeness as well as the two countries' common interests
and persuasion provide an even ground for Iran's participation in
Iraq's reconstruction," he added.
The official reiterated Tehran's rebuttal of allegations that
Iran sought to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs.
"The Islamic Republic, since the invasion and occupation of Iraq
(by US-led forces) has announced that it does not accept this
"Iran has also indicated that it wants the issue of guaranteeing
Iraq's security and the country's administration be left to the
Iraqis," he said.
Ahmadi further rejected reports about alleged arrest of Iranian
nationals for involvement in terrorist activities in Iraq, saying
'(interrogation of) the arrested suspects has shown that there is no
Iranian among them'.
The official also stressed the need for confronting all terrorist
groups in Iraq, including the terrorist Iranian opposition Mujahedin
Khalq Organization (MKO).
"Terrorist groups, including the Munafeqin (Iran's description
of MKO which means hypocrites in Persian and Arabic) grouplet which
has taken refuge in Iraq since the era of Saddam Hussein, must not be
given chance of any activity in Iraq," Ahmadi said.
The MKO, classified as a terrorist organization by the US
State Department as well as Europe, was reportedly dismantled in
the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq, but since then there have
been increasing reports about clandestine cooperation between the
group and the US intelligence.
Ahmadi reiterated Iran's willingness to increase cooperation with
Iraq and expand the two countries' economic and trade ties.
"The Islamic Republic stresses the need for protecting Iraq's
independence, territorial integrity and unity as well as leaving
administration of the country to the Iraqis and avoiding
interference in the country's domestic affairs."
The official further reiterated Tehran's call for withdrawal of
foreign troops from Iraq and deployment of UN peacekeepers until
general elections are held in that country.
... Payvand News - 11/28/04 ... --