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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Iran accepts UN action on Iraq
Anti-US demonstration in Iran
The US and Iran have not always seen eye to eye
The BBC's Bridget Kendall

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Karrazi, has said that if the United Nations Security Council were to authorise the use of force in Iraq, Iran would not oppose it.

It has always been expected that Iran would not oppose any military solution in Iraq, so long as it was clearly legal.

UN Security Council
Iran wants the UN to authorise any campaign against Iraq
The minister told the BBC and other visiting British journalists in Tehran that Iran would never actively support any military operation, but if it was approved by the United Nations, then, like all other UN members, Iran would comply with it.

As for what regime might follow that of Saddam Hussein, Mr Karrazi ruled out the idea of an American military administration as unacceptable, and made clear Iran wants - and expects - to be consulted.

But most interesting were his comments on US policy.

'Change of tone'

Since last February, when Iran was billed part of George W Bush's "axis of evil", Mr Karrazi said America seemed to have realised that Iran was quite different from Iraq and the US tone had changed markedly.

"We welcome this change of tone and certainly it shows that the advisers of Europe and others have been quite useful to help Americans change their position towards Iran," Mr Karrazi said.

But he added that what he called "a golden opportunity" to co-operate over the last year had been lost.

Iranian mistrust was now far greater and it was still up to the US to make a clear move towards better relations.


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21 Oct 02 | Country profiles
11 Feb 02 | Middle East
29 Sep 02 | Middle East
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