Tehran, July 1, IRNA -- Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi
said here on Monday that Iran, like all Muslim and many non-Muslim
states, is firmly against US attack on Iraq or other countries to
change or determine their governments and takes this move as cause of
instability and insecurity.
Asefi told a press conference that Iraqi Culture Minister's visit
is in line with Tehran-Baghdad cultural cooperation.
He said Iran and Iraq need cultural cooperation due to sharing
common borders and Iranian pilgrims' willingness to visit holy sites
in Iraq. He added that the two countries share common religious
Iran and Iraq share common concerns, which should be removed, said
Asefi, adding that the most important issue which is on agenda of
Tehran-Baghdad cooperation is settlement of dispute on the remaining
Prisoners of War (PoWs), exchange of PoWs, solving the
Missing-in-Action (MiAs) issue and exchange of the dead bodies of
Iranian martyrs and Iraqis.
The relations of Iraqi groups with Iran is fully defined and
Iran's policy on non-dictation of stances to the groups has not
changed, said Asefi, adding that Iran will not impose its views and
they decide independently.
Asked on the outcome of talks between Iranian and Azeri working
groups, Asefi said talks with Azerbaijan were held in a positive
atmosphere under mutual understanding.
He said the two countries had called for continuation of talks in
Tehran to find solutions in favor of both sides and preventing
unilateral actions and biased interpretations.
He termed as 'baseless pretexts' the charges against Iran that it
attempts to develop nuclear weapons. "Peaceful cooperation between
Iran and Russia in Bushehr power plant is under supervision of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and after each inspection it
has been confirmed that Iran's measures follow peaceful intentions,"
Iran is not after nuclear weapons, Asefi reiterated.
He said the world public opinion expect the US to prevent shipment
of destructive arms and weapons of mass destruction to Israel and do
not turn a blind eye to Israel's actions.
A bright prospect is ahead for Tehran-Moscow ties and they possess
many potential for mutual cooperation, said Asefi, adding that Iranian
and Russian leaders' are determined to utilize the capacities.
Asked how the chance for relations with the European Union would
be used, Asefi said Iran and Europe have constant contacts and it is
natural to see due measures are adopted by Iran in conformity with the
willingness of Europeans to cooperate with Iran.
He also called as 'contrary to international norms' the claims of
the US President George W. Bush that the Palestinian Authority Leader
Yasser Arafat needed to be removed from leadership of the Palestinian
Authority. "One should speak in a literature that would be welcomed by
the world," said Asefi.
On the point that who should assume responsibility in Palestine,
he said, Palestinians should decide and in Iran's view the illogical
claims that do not go with realities in the Middle East have made the
situation in the region complicated, said Asefi.
Elsewhere in the interview, Asefi ruled out the claim of certain
US media that two staffers of Iranian representative office in New
York had been dismissed on charges of photography.
He said that in the age of Internet and satellite, the points
certain US officials raise on photography are very interesting. He
added that it is not clear how a camera can be a threat against a
country in the age of photography through satellites.
He added that due to the restrictions at Iran's representative
office in New York for dispatch of experts and other forces, Iran uses
temporary employees. He said the two employees had been temporary
employees, whose mission had expired and were due to return the
Asefi welcomed the easing of tension in the Indian subcontinent
and said fortunately crisis between India and Pakistan has been eased
to a large extent.
Iran had since the beginning of the conflict been raising its
concern which represented Tehran's sense of responsibility, said
Asefi, stressing that in case of need, Iran is ready to help reduce
tension between the two neighboring states.
Commenting on the last week visit of Iran's Secretary of the
Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani to
India and Pakistan, Asefi said Iran has cordial relations with India
He said both Pakistan and India are important countries in the
He added that in the course of Rohani's visit, the need had been
stressed for preventing clashes between the two countries and talks
were held on security and stability in Afghanistan.
He then touched on recent talks between Kuwait and Iraq and said
Iran is pleased with the understanding reportedly reached between the
Kuwaiti and Iraqi negotiators and their stress on continuation of
dialogue to attain a solution.
He added that Iran hopes Iraq would implement the UN resolutions
and the two countries would come to the belief to have friendly
relations without any ambition because eruption of two wars in the
region have proved that the region can not tolerate any more clashes.
He then commented on presence of the US and Israeli forces in
Turkey to prepare attack on Iraq and said no official and confirmed
report existed in that respect.
He stressed that presence of foreign forces, especially the
Israelis in the region, would not offer any help and it is clear
that regional issues should be settled through consensus among
He said Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is to pay a two-day
visit to Cyprus from July 2-3 at an invitation by his Cypriot
Asefi said political, cultural and economic cooperation would be
on agenda of talks between Iranian and Cypriot foreign ministers.
Iranian Minister would in meetings with different Cypriot
officials exchange views on prospect of mutual cooperation and
relations, according to Asefi.
Asked on the visit of the US New York Times correspondent Thomas
Freedman's visit to Tehran, Asefi said Freedman's visit was at his own
request like visits by other foreign correspondents and follows all
He stressed that Freedman had been invited by no wing or special