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Iran, Iraq FMs hold first round of talks

Tehran, May 18, IRNA-Foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq discussed bilateral relations during the first round of their talks in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari welcomed his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi's long-awaiting visit to Baghdad stressing that the visit had a "great political message".

"This is the first visit to Iraq by the foreign minister of an Islamic states," Zebari said noting that the visit indicated the consolidation of relations between the two neighboring states.

Expressing hope that Kharrazi's visit would open new chapters in Tehran-Baghdad relations, Zebari said that Iran is the great neighbor of Iraq and Baghdad "needs Tehran's assistance." Among the world leaders, the Iraqi foreign minister stressed, It was only the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who realized Iraq's problems and its situation.

Expressing satisfaction over his visit to Iraq, Kharrazi, for his part, said that the two capitals should try to revive the old roots of heir friendship which have been destroyed during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iran has always been by the side of the Iraqi nation during their dark days under Saddam's regime, Kharrazi noted adding, but Tehran did not also support US interference in Iraq or the way it toppled Saddam's regime.

The foreign minister also stressed that Tehran saw it its duty to support the present Iraqi government, which he said, had "its roots in the hearts of the Iraqi nation." The Iranian foreign minister further noted that Iraq enjoyed great potentials and valuable manpower to overcome its current problems relying on its own capabilities.

He voiced Tehran's readiness to extend its "honest" support and cooperation to the nation of Iraq as well as its government.

Kharrazi expressed hope that all regional states would also support the newly-elected government of Iraq.

Noting that democracy was a "new experience" in Iraq, Kharrazi stressed that Tehran and Baghdad could play a key role in the region and in the Islamic world as well.

Kharrazi dismisses link between trip to Baghdad and Rice visit to Iraq

Ilam, May 18, IRNA-Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi dismissed here Tuesday any suggestions of a link between his rip to Baghdad and US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice visit to Iraq.

"My trip to Iraq has been in planning for a long time and before the visit by Rice," Iraqi state Television quoted Kharrazi as saying.

Kharrazi also brushed aside allegations that Iran is trying to use the Iraqi situation to settle difference with the US.

"We do not want to use Iraq as a springboard to iron-out our differences with US." Iran is keen to assist the Iraq not because of US whims, but due to the long standing and historical relations with the Iraqi nation, Kharrazi underlined.

Tehran and Baghdad have had relations through history. "In addition we are striving to further our national interests in our contacts with the Iraqi government," the Iranian foreign minister added.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said last Wednesday that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statements in an interview with a Georgian TV network as sign of US anger towards Iran's independence and as the reason it strives to thwart development and progress of Iran.

According to the Foreign Ministry's information and press department, Hamid Reza Asefi said, the US is concerned with the Iran's new model for religious democracy based on Islamic principals and Iranian values.

He added, although Washington talks about democracy, but in fact is following an arrogant and unilateralist policy.

The US Secretary of State should study the result of several credible international opinion polls which point to a declining image of America in other nations.

Asefi called the accusation of Iran's support for terrorism as "ridiculous" and said the US is trying to conceal its flagrant support of Israeli regime by uttering unfounded accusations.

He said, Washington is ignoring Israeli state terrorism and is institutionalizing terrorism in the world.

He also dismissed allegation on Iran efforts to build Weapons of Mass Destruction. The efforts by the US officials will not affect our own objectives to preserve our legitimate rights to use peaceful nuclear technology.

The US instead of neat-peaking Iran peaceful nuclear activities should destroy its own nuclear armada, Asefi added.

... Payvand News - 5/18/05 ... --

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