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UK backtracks, welcomes Iran's efforts to build constructive Iraq relations

London, Oct 11, IRNA-The British government has backtracked on accusations made by Prime Minister Tony Blair against Iran, while praising Tehran's efforts to build a "constructive relationship" with Iraq.

"We have welcomed Iran's public line of supporting the Iraqi elections and the efforts to support and build a constructive relationship with the new Iraqi Administration," Defence Secretary John Reid told MPs.

Last week, the British prime minister blamed Iranian links to explosive devices that have been used in Iraq to attack UK troops, even though he acknowledged there was no hard evidence to substantiate the link.

Speaking in parliament Monday, Reid insisted that Blair confirmed the UK "cannot be sure" about the supply of the devices and said it was their "particular nature" that suggested they could be traced to "either Hezbollah or elements associated with Hezbollah and Iran." "Elements within or connected to the Iranian system -- I put it no more strongly than that -- seem to be encouraging violent opposition to multinational forces," he said in backtracking on the original accusations.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayton further clarified that the apparent devices, blamed for the recent killing of British troops, were not new.

"We have seen such devices before, and this experience indicates their source. They are similar to devices that have come from Hezbollah. That concerns us, but further work needs to be done in this area," Drayton said.

... Payvand News - 10/11/05 ... --

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