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Iran Rejects Charges it Encourages Violent Protests Against Cartoons


Iran has rejected Western allegations that it has encouraged violent protests over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi singled U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Danish officials for making such accusations. He called for Western apologies to the Muslim world for the cartoons, and promises not to make "such blunders" in the future.

In Turkey, thousands of people rallied Sunday in that country's largest protest against the cartoons, first published in Denmark.

Violence and threats have led Denmark to withdraw its diplomats from Iran, Syria and Indonesia.

In Pakistan, the United Nations has limited the movement of staff and supplies because of anti-Western protests.

Secretary of State Rice says the protests across the Muslim world could spin out of control if governments refuse to urge their citizens to remain calm.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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