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Iran supportive of Iraq elections, says UK's Straw

London, Feb 1, IRNA -- Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says that he has not yet received a preliminary assessment from the British embassy in Tehran of the reaction to Iraq's elections but was adamant that Iran had been helpful.

"The Iranian government has been supportive of the process. It is a majority of the people we might call their compatriots, the Shi'a, who in one sense stand to gain the most from the elections," Straw told MPs on Monday.

The foreign secretary was answering questions after making a statement in parliament on Sunday's elections in Iraq, which he described as "a moving demonstration of democracy and freedom."

The poll was a vindication of the "values to which people everywhere aspire" and would provide a platform for the post-war country to rebuild, he said.

Reports have suggested that the turn-out of Iraqi voters in Iran was by far the highest in 14 countries, where voting facilities were arranged for the expatriate Iraqi population.

In answering questions, Straw emphasized his opposition to any break-up of Iraq that may result from successionist tendencies, including the Kurds.

"Like every previous relevant Security Council resolution, (SC) Resolution 1546 reaffirms the territorial integrity of Iraq to its existing borders," he said.

The foreign secretary said that "democracy is about giving people freedom -- freedom to argue for any cause that they wish to support -- and that is what these people have done."

"International borders, however, cannot be rewritten by any political party of any one country, and they will not be in this case. The future of Iraq's constitution must lie within the existing international borders," he told parliament.

... Payvand News - 2/1/05 ... --

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