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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Iraq urges US restraint
An anti-American demonstration in Iraq
Sabri says Iraqis have been "threatened for 11 years"
By the BBC's Barbara Plett in Baghdad

Iraq is one of the countries that has been mentioned as a possible target of the US-led anti-terrorism coalition.

But the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, has told the BBC that any such strike would be reckless and irresponsible, and he repeated that Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on New York's twin towers.

Washington has used force in dealing with the world for the past 50 years, and has now been repaid in kind

US officials have admitted there is no proof of Iraqi involvement, but Baghdad is a familiar threat in America and the CIA is examining possible links.

Mr Sabri told the BBC that there were no such links, that Baghdad had no contacts whatsoever with prime suspect Osama Bin Laden or his people. And he warned the United States against using the New York attack as a pretext to strike Iraq.

"We have been threatened for the last 11 years," Dr Naji said. "If they would like, now, to expand this threat, this will be an expression of the reckless, irresponsible, aggressive policy of the United States."

Iraq was one of the few nations that did not condemn the attack.

Wreckage of World Trade Center
There is no evidence linking Iraq to the terror attacks
Mr Sabri said Baghdad thought the US did not need consolation, but advice to reassess its foreign policy; that Washington had used force in dealing with the world for the past 50 years, and had now been repaid in kind.

When asked whether Iraq was taking precautions for a possible strike, Mr Sabri said only that it had been doing so for the past 11 years.

The authorities are keeping a low profile, though, limiting journalists' access to the country and contacts with the people.

See also:

23 Sep 01 | Middle East
Israel denies Iraqi terror attack link
19 Sep 01 | Middle East
Iraq denies role in US attacks
12 Sep 01 | Middle East
Iraq hails attack on US
16 Sep 01 | Americas
Analysis: Building a coalition
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