President Saddam Hussein has accused Iran of helping anti-government infiltrators into border provinces of southern Iraq, the scene of a 1991 Shiite Muslim uprising, newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Saddam, in a meeting with leaders of the ruling Baath party, condemned "the role of Iran, which is aiding enemy infiltration into the three southern Iraqi provinces of Zi Qar, Muthanna and Basra".
"Iraq will not tremble and will not allow the slightest chance, neither for traitors, collaborators nor the Zionist and US enemies who want to harm it," the president said.
Baghdad on Monday blasted a proposal from a policy adviser to US presidential candidate George Bush for a new carve-up of Iraq.
Robert Zoellick proposed last week that the United States help set up an opposition enclave in southern Iraq, similar to a Kurdish safe haven established after the 1991 Gulf War.
On May 18, Iran accused Iraq of violating the UN-brokered ceasefire which halted their 1980-1988 war, reporting that Iraqi infiltrators had been arrested in late 1999 and the Iraqi army had set up new observation posts in the border area.
Ties are still strained 12 years after the ceasefire between the two neighbors, which have yet to sign a formal peace treaty.
Apart from support for each other opposition groups, another major bone of contention is POWs. On Tuesday, Iran repatriated 460 Iraqi prisoners, raising to almost 3,000 the number of Iraqi POWs freed since April.
Baghdad says it holds no more Iranian POWs, but Tehran insists that 3,206 of its former soldiers are still in Iraqi jails – BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)