Newspaper: Saddam Stepping up Opposition Support to Undermine Iran
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is increasing his support for the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedeen in a bid to destabilize the Tehran government, a newspaper charged Tuesday.
The Iran Daily said it was "hard to believe" that Saddam was not personally involved in the escalation of attacks against Iran by the Mujahedeen, which is based in Iraq.
"Saddam is against the establishment of democracy and a civil society in Iran," said the paper, which is published by the Iranian state news agency IRNA.
He is using the outlawed rebels "as a tool to destabilize Iran and create a climate of fear in the country," the daily said, adding that Saddam has provided the group with "increased military means."
The paper also cited US State Department reports saying that the Mujahedeen have been given "advanced military bases" by Baghdad which the daily charged were used to create "an even safer haven for the group to pursue its terrorist activities."
An Iraqi government spokesman earlier this month categorically denied Baghdad was trying to undermine the Tehran government, saying: "The acts committed by the Iranian opposition against the authorities of its country are business Iraq has nothing to do with."
Clashes between the Mujahedeen and the Iranian armed forces have been increasing over the past year.
Iran says the end of Mujahedeen operations from Iraqi territory is one of the conditions for the normalization of relations between the two neighbors, who have yet to sign a formal peace treaty after their 1980-1988 war.
Tehran press reports said Monday that 10 Iraqis had been sentenced to prison terms after being convicted of spying for Baghdad and cooperating with the Mujahdeen – TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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