Iran Blasts US Defense Secretary Over Weapons Claims
Iran on Sunday blasted US Defense Secretary William Cohen after he reiterated Washington's claims that the Islamic republic is developing weapons of mass destruction.
"Cohen's statements are aimed at sowing division and destabilizing the region," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said, cited by state radio.
He denounced Cohen's current trip to the oil-rich Gulf Arab monarchies to warn of the risk of such weapons posed by Iran and Iraq and said the heavy US military presence in the region was destabilizing.
"The Iran-Iraq and Gulf wars clearly show that the United States cannot guarantee security in the region," Asefi said.
Iran has repeatedly denied it is developing weapons of mass destruction.
"I will encourage the Gulf states to continue the greater cooperation of looking at threats through a more regional perspective," Cohen said in Oman on Saturday.
Under the so-called Cooperation Defense Initiative program, countries share an early-warning network and skills in "consequence management" on how to deal with casualties and train experts in detection of threats.
Cohen said Thursday that the United States wants better relations with Iran, which were broken off two decades ago, but said it is impossible because of what Washington alleges is Iran's support of terrorism -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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