Iran Denies Airspace for US strike against Iraq
Iran will not allow the United States to use its airspace to attack Iraq, and its armed forces will defend the country's territory, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
"We hope such an error will not be committed by anybody," ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. "It's clear our armed forces are prepared to defend the country's territorial integrity and its airspace and land. The Islamic Republic will not accept such acts in any way."
He said Tehran was not a friend of Baghdad but would not take part in any military operation to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iraq's neighbors fear a U.S.-Iraq war would destabilize the region, and Iran fears U.S. influence in the region would increase if Washington succeeds in ousting Saddam Hussein, according to The Associated Press.
"Iran has suffered a lot from Iraq. At the same time, it does not forget America's hostilities. Iran will not participate in any attack on a Muslim and neighboring country. It doesn't accept use of force" in international relations.”
The Islamic republic has intensified its diplomatic efforts to help avert a possible U.S. military attack to topple Saddam but has said it would stay away from the confrontation.
Moreover, Asefi said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw would pay a two-day visit to Iran beginning Wednesday to review heightened tension in the region. Asefi said Iran was not aware if Straw would carry any message from the United States for Iran. (Albawaba.com)
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