Iran's Kharrazi Shrugs Off U.S. Warnings on Iraq: Says Situation In Iraq Will Spiral Out Of Control
06.04.2003 [22:30]

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Sunday dismissed U.S. warnings on interfering in the war in Iraq as "nothing new" and said Tehran was opposed to any foreign intervention in the Arab state.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last month accused Tehran of backing armed groups inside Iraq, raising concerns the United States may consider targeting Iran after the Iraqi war.

U.S. officials have denied Washington plans to strike Iran, which is included on Washington's "axis of evil" with Iraq.

"These warnings from America are nothing new. U.S. policy in the region is, 'You are either with us or against us.' We have heard these warnings from America for years," Kharrazi told reporters after talks with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

"(The United States) knows there are very deep differences in perspectives between America and Iran," he said.

"We hope America will not pursue the same policies in the region that Israel implements. The people will most definitely take action against this."

Iran is opposed to any new Kurdish state emerging in post-war Iraq, Kharrazi said, but does not want to see neighboring countries entering to block Iraqi Kurds.

"Iran does not condone any foreign state intervening in Iraq and believes the situation there will become more critical, that the situation will spiral out of control.

"We especially welcome Turkey's stance on this," he said.

NATO partner and close U.S. ally Turkey has backed off threats to invade northern Iraq to block Kurds, allied with U.S. forces, from establishing a state out of the chaos of war.

Iraqi Kurds deny their aim is independence from Iraq.

Turkey fears such a state would spark separatism among its own estimated 12 million Kurds. Iran and Syria are also home to Kurdish minorities who live in areas bordering northern Iraq.

Relations have been strained between Ankara and Washington since Muslim Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to launch attacks on Iraq from Turkish territory.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Ankara last week in a bid to repair the damage between the traditional allies.

Turkey is seeking closer ties with Iran and Syria, both staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, to address common concerns on the Kurdish north. Gul said at the news conference he would travel to Damascus on April 13 for talks.

Iran would also support a three-way meeting with Turkey and Syria, Kharrazi said.

Mert Ozkan/Reuters