Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said Tehran would not "provide any help to America or its allies in their attack" against Afghanistan, state radio reported.
"America does not have the competence to guide a global movement against terrorism, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not participate in any move which is headed by the United States," Khamenei said, cited by AFP.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not provide any help to America or its allies in their attack", he told family members of those killed or injured in Iran's 1980-1988 war with neighboring Iraq.
"You, who have always caused blows to Iran's interests, how dare you request help (from us) in order to attack the innocent Muslim nation of Afghanistan which has suffered and which is our neighbor," Khamenei said.
Khamenei's address was continually interrupted by the crowd with cries of "Death to America, Death to Israel."
It was the first time at a public event that Iranians cried "Death to America" since the September 11 attacks.
Iran was swift to condemn the September 11 attacks on the United States, with which it has no diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, raising hopes of a warming of relations between the two.
Repeating Iran's call that any global movement against terrorism should be led by the United Nations, Khamenei said that in this way "the United States and other powers cannot exercise influence on it," Khamenei said.
"The US government has decided, just as it did during the Persian Gulf war, to expand its influence in the region (...) and on Iran's eastern borders under the pretext that some of the accused, whose guilt has not been proven, are in Afghanistan," Khamenei warned.
Also Wednesday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami branded his US counterpart George W. Bush "arrogant" for allegedly thinking that he can "distinguish between good and bad on his own," the state news agency IRNA said.
Khatami, who was referring to Bush's recent comments on the September 11 attacks, said, "A powerful human being can become so arrogant, that he thinks he can distinguish between good or bad on his own."
Khatami said Bush's remark that "you are either with us, or with the terrorists," was "the worst kind of division, and I hope that it was a mistake on his part."
The Iranian head of state also said the term "Crusade" used by his American counterpart revealed that Bush was "not informed sufficiently."
"However, the US president became aware of this mistake and has compensated for it. I hope that this phrase (either you are with us or against us) is also due to his lack of information, and that he compensates for it" as well, Khatami said.
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stressed that any kind of military operation in Afghanistan which would lead to massacre of a large number of civilians, would be faced with opposition of public opinion throughout the Islamic world, said IRNA.
Underlining the need to uproot terrorism in the world, the Iranian foreign minister said that any reaction in response to the terrorist operations in the US should be within the framework of the United Nations principles.
Referring to the settlement of thousands of refugees in Iran over the past few years, he called on all world states, particularly the European countries, to provide Afghan refugees with appropriate assistance, the agency added.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, itself, has been victim of terrorism,” he said, criticizing the double-standard policy of the Western states toward terrorism, including their giving shelter to members of the outlawed Mujahedden Khalq – Albawaba.com
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