28 September IRNA

Iran's FM, Annan discuss UN-led anti-terror campaign

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Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan discussed on phone Friday an international anti-terror campaign as well as the latest developments in Afghanistan.

Annan expressed gratification with the Islamic Republic for taking up an "active diplomacy" through conducting intense lobbies with the European Union, following the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. He said it was important for the world countries, especially Europe, to be kept abreast of Iran's stance on the recent world developments.

"The United Nations has put the issue of dealing with terrorism in its agenda," Annan said, adding the campaign would go ahead smoothly provided that the world countries stick to the central role of the UN in the fight. He said he was striving to find "appropriate mechanisms" to help Afghan refugees who have flooded the country's borders with neighboring countries since a U.S.-led attack on the alleged terrorist bases in the country has loomed large.

Kharrazi reiterated the UN's central role in the campaign against international terrorism, saying "the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the United Nations should become the axis of the anti-terror fight so that the necessary unanimity for the campaign against this ominous phenomenon is achieved." "The UN should attend to the fate of the Afghan people and provide the necessary assistance for them," the Iranian foreign minister added. Meanwhile, in a separate phone conversation with his Indonesian counterpart Hasan Wirajuda, Kharrazi said that the innocent Afghans should not be targted by the possible retaliatoraty attacks by the United States.

"It is up to the international community to avoid any humanitarian tragedy and one cannot turn a blind eye to it," he said. Kharrazi echoed previous calls for an emergency meeting of the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and said that the Muslims nations should use all their potentials to eradicate terrorism and avoid another humanitarian catastrophe. Both Kharrazi and Wirajuda called for anti-terror campaign under the umbrella of the United Nations. Iran was quick to condemn the September 11 attacks that left over 6,000 people dead or missing at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon despite the fact that it does not have diplomatic ties with the United States since U.S. Embassy staff were held captive for 444 days in 1980 by Iranian revolutionary students.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said that "the Islamic Republic of Iran will not provide any help to America or its allies in case they attack" the ruling Taliban militia in Afghanistan, accused by Washington of harboring the mastermind of September 11's attacks on U.S. trade and defense centers, Osama bin Laden. "America does not have the competence to guide a global movement against terrorism, and...Iran will not participate in any move which is headed by the United States," the leader said. Iran says the campaign against terrorism should be led by the United Nations.

President Mohammad Khatami, in a meeting with the visiting EU delegation on Wednesday, called for a fundamental campaign against terrorism in which all world nations will stand prominent in the struggle. He said the international community is justified to deal with terrorists in a manner it sees appropriate provided there was sufficient evidence of the guilt of the suspect or suspects. Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Friday Iran is ready to take part in a UN-led anti-terror campaign provided that the United States does not impose its ideas.

"If the United States decides not to impose its own will, we are ready to join the anti-terrorism coalition under the umbrella of the United Nations despite our differences with the United States," Rafsanjani told worshipers at the weekly Friday congregational prayers at Tehran University.

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