Sunday, November 28, 2004

Iran says it has never allowed terrorists to cross territory

Iran says it has never allowed terrorists to cross territory: "Iran says it has never allowed terrorists to cross territory
AFP: 11/28/2004
TEHRAN, Nov 28 (AFP) - Iran said Sunday that is has never allowed any terrorists to cross into Iraq from its territory and offered its help to restore security in its neighbour, including the training of police and border guards.

"Iran has never permitted the transit of terrorists to Iraq or any other country from its own territory," deputy interior minister Ali-Asghar Ahmadi told reporters two days before Iran is due to host a regional meeting on Iraq.

Iran has invited the interior ministers of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey and Egypt to the meeting here Tuesday.

"No leader of Al-Qaeda is in Iran," added the minister, responding to frequent allegations from the United States that Iran has supported or harboured members of the militant network.

The official also condemned the actions of an Iranian group that has been present at officially-organised events to enlist volunteers for suicide operations in Iraq, Israel and elsewhere.

"This is not legal," he said. "If the activity of these individuals stays theoretical, that is up to them, but if they move into action, we will prevent them. We cannot accept such things in Iran."

"The Islamic republic of Iran has never been and is not a place of activity for terrorist groups," he insisted, adding that Iraqi officials "have never shown proof of the crossing of terrorists from Iran".

"Iran is ready to help train Iraqi police and border guards and cooperate with Iraq to control the border," he added.

For his part, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the themes of the conference here would be "security, stabilisation and fighting terrorism."

"The Iraqi government has the basic responsibility to sort out its domestic situation. It is not enough to accuse others of infiltrating its borders. The main problem lies inside Iraq. It is the Iraqi government's responsibility to fight terrorism, although the neighbours should help," he added."