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US raided consulate to sever Iran-Iraq relations: Iranian Official

Tehran, Jan 19, IRNA-An Iranian official said here on Friday that the US raided Iranian consulate in Iraqi city of Erbil to sever Iran-Iraq ties as a means to impose its condition on Iraq and the region.

"Only through severing ties between Iranian and Iraqi governments, the US would be able to impose its condition on Iraq and the region," said Iran's deputy head of Supreme National Security Council for Internal Security Affairs Mohammad Jaafari in an interview with reporters here on Friday.

Jaafari, who was on a visit to Erbil heading a delegation prior to US capture of Iranian diplomats after storming the consulate, said the US air and ground attack on the consulate had been concurrent with the Iranian delegation's official meetings with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani and president of Iraqi Kurdistan Masood Barzani.

"The US had no justification to show such a behavior; whatever raised during meetings with the Iraqi president were in line with the Iranian and Iraqi nations' interests."

When asked whether Jaafari was the main target of the consular attack, he said, "I don't know what they were looking for. The question should be asked from Americans. I too have heard the rumours that you are now speaking about." He said the Iranian consulate has been operating in Erbil for 17 years.

"The Iranian consulate was established in Erbil 17 years ago. It had a tableau and the Islamic Republic of Iran's flag was hoisted atop it." The Islamic Republic of Iran has consulates in Erbil, Suliymanieh, Basra and Karbala, he added.

Jaafari said the Iraqi officials would do their best to secure release of Iranian diplomats captured by the US.

Elsewhere in the interview, Jaafari said the US wants to blame Iran for insecurity in Iraq to cover up its failure in the country, while that's not true.

"The US wants to hold Iran responsible for insecurity in Iraq, while knowing it quite well that Iran is not accountable for the issue because it would not be logical for Tehran to support the Iraqi government strongly on the one hand and cause troubles for it on the other hand."

He said that those committing suicide operations in Iraq are Arabs.

"Has there been any Iranian among those committing suicide operations in Iraq? Aren't those committing the operations from some Arab states? Those being behind the operations are from the countries that are the US allies but Bush's administration is not willing to tell his own people why the youth from the US ally states are launching suicide operations to kill the US soldiers," he noted.

He said it is a very difficult question which the US is refraining to answer and due to the same reason it blames Iran for insecurity in Iraq.

He went on to say that in fact, Iraqi people, who held elections, drew and compiled constitution and formed government, parliament, army and police, are responsible for the US failure. "The US can not do anything in the face of the Iraqi nation's resistance." Jaafari said Iran is willing to maintain good relations with the Iraqi government and nation irrespective of the issue.

"We would definitely maintain our good relations and ties with the Iraqi government."

He also ruled out claims that he had during his visit to Saudi Arabia carried a message to Saudis in connection with the Iran-US talks.

... Payvand News - 1/19/07 ... --

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