Iran Resists U.S. Pressure

June 3, 2003

The following report is excerpted from the Islamic Republic News Agency.

On May 30, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said that Iran-U.S. talks will be meaningful only when they are based on mutual respect and equality.

Talking to foreign and domestic journalists on the conclusion of the 30th foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), he said . . . "Washington should prove that it is genuinely ready to hold talks with Tehran on the basis of mutual respect." Kharrazi called for an end to US threats against Iran.

"The US is not serious in its war against terror," he said, stressing that contrary to outward manifestations, "Washington is supporting terrorists." If a particular terrorist move is against US interests in any part of the world, Washington condemns it, but when it is against any other country's interest, it chooses to be silent and does nothing to confront it, he said, noting that Washington has even signed a ceasefire agreement with some terrorist groups.

On the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda fugitives in Iran, Kharrazi said that it is the policy of the government that as soon as any Al-Qaeda member is identified inside its borders, that member is arrested and returned to his home country or sent to any of the European, African or Persian Gulf countries.

He admitted that some suspected Al-Qaeda members have managed to enter Iranian territory illegally because of the country's long borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but that these have been arrested and are currently under investigation.

Referring to the recent remarks of a Russian official that Moscow is unaware of any Iranian hidden nuclear activities, the Iranian foreign minister said that Russia is cooperating with Iran in the construction and completion of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr. He said other countries are invited to help Iran construct power plants.

Responding to a question on whether Iran intends to establish a group similar to the Lebanese Hezbollah to operate in Iraq, Kharrazi said the US and its allies are trying to justify their failures in that country by making such outrageous allegation.

"They claim that Tehran interferes in Iraqi domestic affairs but they cannot prove such claim," he added. The Islamic Republic of Iran is not and will not interfere in Iraqi affairs, he asserted, adding that Tehran's policy is to promote friendly ties with all its neighbors on the basis of mutual respect.