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Iran's Parliament Thanks Britain's Straw over Sharon

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Iran's parliament thanks Britain's Straw over Sharon snub

November 11, 2002, 04:02 PM

TEHRAN (AFP) - A leading Iranian MP has written a letter of thanks to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, after he rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's call for Iran to be attacked after Iraq, state media said.

"I appreciate the quick and blunt reaction to the immature remarks against the Islamic republic by the Israeli prime minister," wrote Mohsen Mirdamadi, who heads the Majlis parliament's committee on national security and foreign policy.

"Undoubtedly, realism and justice can pave the way to resolve the Middle East crisis, and governments can take serious steps through cooperation to give back rights to people in this region," he wrote, according to the IRNA news agency.

In an interview with London's Times newspaper published last week, Sharon said Iran -- one of the "axis of evil" powers identified by US President George W. Bush -- should be put under pressure "the day after" action against Iraq ends.

But his comments drew a swift rebuke from Britain, where Straw told the BBC that "it would be the gravest possible error" to strike Iran.

"Number one, I understand why people in Israel are frightened but number two I profoundly disagree with him and I think it would be the gravest possible error to think in that way," Straw said.

Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has been a staunch enemy of Israel and refuses to recognise the Jewish state has a right to exist.

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