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Iraqi leader rules out US accusations against Iran

Baghdad, March 27, IRNA-Iran isn't interfering in internal Iraqi affairs as some US officials have contended, the head of Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim told CNN on Sunday.

"They always accuse Iran of such things, and they told us about such things even from the first month that we've been here until now," he told CNN through a translator. "And we were always asking for evidence , but nobody came with evidence."

Al-Hakim recently asked Iran to hold talks with the United States about the accusations -- Iran accepted Iraqi leader's request on the ground of good neighborly relations with Iraq.

CNN quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying on Saturday that although Iran does not trust the Bush administration, it will hold the talks with the United States about Iraq because doing so is in the best interest of Iraqis and the Muslim world, according to IRNA.

CNN quoted IRNA as saying that Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, okayed last week an "exchange of views with the United States."

Al-Hakim told CNN that Iran is important to Iraq's security. "This issue is not only connected to Iran but with all neighboring countries," he said. "First of all, they've got strong and capable security forces. They can help in controlling the borders.

"Secondly, they've got a lot of information that would benefit Iraq regarding terrorism operations. And third, we can benefit from the experience of all neighboring countries."

"Iraq needs this help because of the special circumstances that the country is passing through in building various establishments -- economic establishments as well as the security issue, which is the most important," he continued. "This will all lead to rebuilding the new Iraq that we all want to see."

"This is why we (SCIRI) made our move and we call for them, Iran to publicly open the dialogue with the United States -- and we hope that such a dialogue can solve a lot of problems."

Al-Hakim blamed the violence in Iraq on "religious extremists and the Saddam loyalists who are launching sectarian genocidal campaigns against the Shia Muslims and anyone who believes in the political process and wants to be a part of it."

CNN said that while sectarian violence has rocked the country, al-Hakim denied that Shia groups are generally opposed to Sunni Arab participation in Iraqi affairs.

Efforts to establish a unity government among Shia, Sunnis and Kurds have been delayed by political infighting since the December 15 parliamentary elections, CNN said.

"The Sunnis are our brothers," he said. "They are part of our tribes and community, and we have very strong relations with them. The terrorists are threatening every day -- and they commit horrible crimes in Iraq," al-Hakim said.

The bombing last month of a holy shrine in Samarra, he said, "was similar to what happened on September 11 in the United States.

"It was a very big crime that shocked all Iraqis from Sunni to Shia," he said.

Al-Hakim warned that if the violence continues, civil war could result.

At any rate, he said, the formation of the new government will not stop the violence.

"The Takfiris (religious extremist groups) and terrorists like Saddam loyalists ... will continue their activities whether we form the government or not, so we should deal with the issue in a special way," he told CNN.

... Payvand News - 3/27/06 ... --

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