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UK unwilling to publish claimed evidence against Iran

London, Oct 17, IRNA-Prime Minister Tony Blair is unwilling to publish claimed evidence alleging Iranian involvement with the recent killing of British soldiers in Iraq, according to his official spokesman.

"Given that evidence was about the construction of bombs, it would be rather unwise of the government to publicise it," the spokesman told domestic and foreign journalists at his daily briefing Monday.

On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw insisted that Britain had presented to Tehran "evidence which, in our judgment, clearly links the improvised explosive devices which have been used against British and other troops, mainly in the south of Iraq, to Hezbollah and to Iran."

"That is the evidence. We look to the Iranians to desist from anything that they have been involved in the past, and also to use their very considerable influence with Hezbollah to ensure that this continued use of Hezbollah technology stops in Iraq," Straw told Channel Four News.

But the Independent on Sunday contradicted the British claims, revealing that the bombs used were developed by the IRA in Northern Ireland using technology passed on by Britain's security services in a botched "sting" operation more than a decade ago.

"The technology reached the Middle East through the IRA's co- operation with Palestinian groups. In turn, some of these groups used to be sponsored by Saddam Hussein and his Baath party," a former British agent told the paper.

The report came after IRNA revealed on Saturday that British commanders on the ground in Basra also dismissed the allegations against Iran amid suggestions that they had been politically motivated.

At his briefing, the Prime minister's spokesman also declined to speak any further on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad telling a cabinet meeting suspicions about involvement of British troops in last Saturday's terrorist attack in Ahvaz that killed six people.

The Foreign Office had already given a reaction over the weekend and the spokesman said that he would "not comment any further on it." A statement issued by the British Embassy in Tehran insisted that "any linkage between the British Government and these terrorist outrages is completely without foundation."

Questioned about the apparent failure of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's meeting with Blair on Sunday to put pressure on Iran, the spokesman denied that it was not "all talk and no action," insisting that it was "not true."

With regard to Iran's nuclear case, he said that in terms of the IAEA, it had its processes and "it was important that we keep to those processes, as well as Iran."

"It would be a wrong interpretation of not just our position, but also that of the United States and Europe to suggest that we lacked resolve on this issue," Blair's spokesman said.

Rice's visit to London came at the end of a European tour, during which she was reported to have openly clashed with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, over Iran's right to enrich uranium.

... Payvand News - 10/18/05 ... --

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