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Iran opposes war on Iraq

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These two countries were involved in a decade long war, which had millions on both side dead, and were bitter enemies... Amazing what this article says...and how the tables have turned....

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Iran opposes war on Iraq

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran declared its opposition to any military attack on its former foe Iraq on Sunday and criticized the United States for going its own way on global problems such as disarmament.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told the U.N. General Assembly his country wanted Iraq to fulfil Security Council resolutions and readmit weapons inspectors to allow the lifting of sanctions imposed for Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"We are against any unilateral measure or military intervention in Iraq, underline the central role of the United Nations in this regard, and hold that it is up to the people of Iraq to determine their own future through democratic means," he said.

Iran fought a bitter war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988 and stayed out of the 1991 Gulf War in which a U.S.-led coalition drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait after a seven-month occupation.

In January, U.S. President George W. Bush branded Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil" that was seeking weapons of mass destruction and might give them to terrorists.

Kharrazi, whose country denies Bush's charges, accused the United States, without naming it, of undermining global efforts to control nuclear weapons testing, ballistic missiles, biological warfare and the trade in small arms.

FIGHTING TERRORISM

He said the "tragic terror attacks of September 11" were a challenge to the world, but warned that "fighting terrorism with unbridled use of violence" would only make matters worse.

Kharrazi advocated a "law-based counter-terrorism strategy" with which all countries could cooperate, as well as an attempt to identify and address the root causes of terrorism.

He called for a world summit to tackle the issue and develop a generally acceptable definition of terrorism.

The United States accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism by supporting Palestinian Islamic militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas.

Kharrazi said international law gave Palestinians the right to fight Israeli occupation. "Labelling a nation, which only fights to liberate its home, as terrorist must be condemned."

He did not refer to Israel, but indicated that Iran would not reject the Palestinian leadership's policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. "We respect the choices that Palestinian people make," he said.

"It is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to decide, through democratic means, their future political system and the manner in which they elect to establish their civil and political order," the Iranian minister added.

Bush, who has refused to meet Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, said in June the Palestinians must choose leaders "not compromised by terror" if they wanted a state of their own.

Kharrazi said global problems should be tackled through close international cooperation within a democratic framework.

"The logical extension of such an approach is the clear rejection of multilateralism and attempts by a single state, however powerful, to impose its norms and policies," he said.

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