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Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
Iran anger at Bush 'interference'
Student protests in Iran
The protests were the largest seen in three years
Iran has reacted angrily to calls by President George W Bush for the country's Islamic authorities to abandon their "uncompromising, destructive policies" and allow greater freedoms.


How does Mr Bush, who has no legitimacy back home, allow himself to openly interfere in Iran's affairs and speak of reforms?

Iranian state radio
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Mr Bush's comments amounted to interference in Iran's internal affairs.

Supporters of Iran's reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, have also rejected Mr Bush's comments, saying they did not need any help from the United States.

Mr Bush's statement came a few days after clashes between students and police in Tehran, and the resignation of a prominent cleric, Ayatollah Jalaledine Taheri, who accused the Iranian authorities of corruption and repression.

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Iranian state radio asked: "How does Mr Bush, who has no legitimacy back home, allow himself to openly interfere in Iran's affairs and speak of reforms."

In a written statement issued on Friday, Mr Bush Mr Bush urged Iran's unelected leaders to abandon policies which he said denied Iranians the opportunities and human rights of people elsewhere.

He pledged that a reforming Iran would have no better friend than the United States.

President Bush
Previously Bush called Iran part of an "axis of evil"
In response to Ayatollah Taheri's onslaught, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he agreed with some of the criticism, but warned that it would be used by Iran's enemies.

Several thousand people took to the streets of Tehran on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of violent street protests three years ago.

In a demonstration of dissatisfaction at the pace of reform in Iran, students clashed with plainclothes security officers.

In his written statement Mr Bush expressed solidarity with the students, saying, "their government should listen to their hopes."

See also:

12 Jul 02 | Middle East
11 Jul 02 | Middle East
10 Jul 02 | Middle East
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16 May 02 | Middle East
08 Feb 02 | Country profiles
08 Aug 01 | Middle East
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