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Iran proposes joint security meeting with British forces

London, Feb 1, IRNA-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Wednesday called for a meeting between British and Iranian security forces to discuss last week's bombings in Ahvaz, which killed at least nine people.

The proposal was made during talks with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that was held on the sidelines of a two-day international conference on Afghanistan's future, that opened in London Tuesday.

According to sources close to the talks, Mottaki proposed that Iran would submit documentary evidence of British involvement in the southwestern Iranian city close to the Iraqi border.

But Straw was said to have repeated London's denial of any involvement in the explosions, saying that his government condemned all acts of terrorism.

The Iranian minister expressed concern about the continued presence of British troops in Basra and called for a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from neighboring Iraq.

In a speech to the London conference on Tuesday, he also called for a timetable for all foreign forces from Afghanistan, warning that their continued deployment was affecting stability in the region.

Last year, Prime Minister Tony Blair alleged that Iranian elements had supplied explosive devices to insurgents in Iraq following a series of British soldier deaths.

But earlier this month, his government was reported to have dropped the accusations after carrying out a thorough assessment of the latest intelligence.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has also subsequently denied that he had accused Iran directly of involvement, insisting that he 'did not say there was conclusive evidence of Iran involvement'.

Britain currently has some 8,500 troops deployed in southern Iraq and is set to substantially increase it military presence in Afghanistan to some 5,700 servicemen in the next few months.

... Payvand News - 2/2/06 ... --

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