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Iran Will Only Support UN Anti-Terror Effort - 2001-09-30

Iran's top diplomat says his country is willing to join a worldwide battle against terrorism, but not one led by the United States.

Foreign Minister Kharazzi says Iran will cooperate in an international effort to combat terrorism, but only under guidelines drawn up by the United Nations. Mr. Kharazzi spoke at a Cairo news conference, during a stopover on a trip that also includes Syria and Lebanon.

He told reporters Iran would not participate unless the effort is sponsored by the United Nations. He indicated Iran would not support an effort led by the United States. He said the United States is not neutral when it comes to issues regarding the Middle East.

The Iranian foreign minister accused the United States of using a double standard when dealing with terrorism, by supporting Israel and blaming the Palestinians for resisting Israeli occupation.

Mr. Kharazzi disputed published reports that Iran's anti-terrorism participation was contingent on a $35 million payment to help deal with Afghanistan refugees massed along Iran's border. Mr. Kharazzi said Iran is handling two million refugees and that the international community must bear some of the responsibility. But he said, regardless of any assistance it might receive, Iran will join the battle against terrorism.

However, Mr. Kharazzi said the war cannot be superficial and must be waged internationally. Mr. Kharazzi says there are terrorists in the Islamic world and in the Western world who are instigating conflict among civilizations. He says the world should work to create an atmosphere of dialogue among civilizations and to find a better understanding between nations.

The Iranian foreign minister met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Mayer and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa during his visit to Cairo Sunday.