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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 April, 2003, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Iraq situation torments Iranians

The war in Iraq has generated much soul-searching in neighbouring Iran, which has been designated by Washington as part of the "axis of evil", which the US believes threatens to foment terrorism and develop weapons of mass destruction.

There is much discussion over how Tehran should react to the new situation in Baghdad following the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime. The following are quotes from the Iranian media.

Tehran cannot afford to remain passive towards the newly emerging realities so close to our neighbourhood. If we do not open our eyes and are not present where and when necessary, this "unborn child" might become a future monster. We are well placed and have the ability and potential to play a reasonable role in post-war Iraq.

Iran Daily - moderate, pro-reform, English-language

The fate and the future of the Iraqi nation weighs in the balance any... negligence or strategic mistake by Iraqi political activists could give the invaders a pretext to prolong their stay in the country.

Tehran Times -conservative, English-language

If Arab and Islamic countries and UN member states fail to take advantage of the post-war opportunities to resist American militarism ... the Zionists, the main players in the Iraq war, will try to divert the attention of America from resolving the Palestinian crisis to extending American attacks from Iraq to other countries in the region, and the Middle East will face another tragedy.

Iranian radio

A bully has embarked on a military expedition and has attacked another bully in the midst of Islamic countries... Look at what they have done and what they are doing under the pretext of freedom... The mask of deception has been lifted from the face of Bush and Blair. It has become clear that they are both blood-sucking Hitlers.

Senior cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Meshkini, on Iranian TV

We the people of Iran all rejoice at this event, but the overthrow of Saddam and his gang has been accompanied by a regrettable process. The Iraqi army did not fight the forces of the aggressor... nor did the people in the Iraqi cities, who failed to put up resistance, actually welcoming the invading armies. The people of Iraq are the heirs to an ancient civilization. They did not even defend their houses. Why? Because Saddam sought to prove to the people of Iraq that nothing belonged to them and everything belonged to him.

Aftab-e Yazd - reformist

In Iraq, America has still not started to set up the desired system and it is foreseen that a kind of intifadah will take shape there... American action against Iran is still at the stage of propaganda and choosing a method.

Commentator quoted by Fars News Agency

US Senator Sam Brown's 50m-dollar plan for the peaceful overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tose'eh - Reformist

It would be best for Iran if the result of war in Iraq is a united popular government in that country. The worst situation is if the government which comes to power takes orders from the White House... America cannot change the world by using the 11 September events. The actions of bullying countries have created a lot of invisible energy in various societies, and this will gradually spring up in other places.

Top official Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani quoted by Resalat - conservative

Our strategists have spent their time in a climate of uncertainty... a new Iraq is being born. If we do not open our eyes and if we are not active, the creature being born could turn into a threatening demon... One small mistake, one inappropriate decision could have irreparable consequences for our future and our relations with our new neighbour.

Yas-e Now - reformist

A native despot has given way to a foreign dictator in Iraq. That alien dictator has replaced a semi-friendly tyrant... there are still important hidden factors [to be discovered] which are absolutely indispensable to Iran's decision makers... the long-term aim of World Zionism is to set up the great state of Israel extending from the Nile to the Euphrates

Jomhuri-ye Eslami - hardline conservative

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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