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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 17:56 GMT
Iran outraged by Bush speech
Anti-US protest in Tehran
Ties between Iran and the US remain ruptured
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has condemned an allegation by US President George W Bush that Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction.

"Whatever comments Bush made on Iran's pursuing weapons of mass destruction are totally baseless, superficial and wrong," he told reporters in Tehran.

Kamal Kharrazi
Iran is fending off charges levelled at Iraq
He also rejected comments about democracy in Iran, saying the Islamic Republic did not need outside advice.

However, Mr Bush's references to Iran, made during his State of the Union speech, were milder than in his "axis of evil" speech in 2002 and he only referred to Iran's neighbour Iraq as "evil".

"In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror," Mr Bush said.

Mr Kharrazi replied that: "The Iranian nation does not need to get advice from outside."

Bush 'losing support'

Referring directly to Iraq, the minister said: "We are neutral but that does not mean we are indifferent.

Washington broke diplomatic ties after students stormed its embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took 52 people hostage for 444 days.

Mr Kharrazi accused the US of seeking to create "an atmosphere of security tension, inside [the US] and outside, especially in the Middle East".

A commentary on Iranian radio on Wednesday accused President Bush of seeking to distract attention from America's domestic troubles by going to war with Iraq, but failing to enlist support.

"When he speaks today about Iraq and Saddam Hussein missing the opportunity to disarm, he still cannot speak directly about his plan to attack Iraq," the commentary said.

"This is because he knows that the current mood in the world is no longer prepared to put up with America's unilateral policies....

"George Bush is facing a greater challenge to keep hot the furnace of his warmongering propaganda."



See also:

29 Jan 03 | Americas
28 Jan 03 | Middle East
31 Jul 02 | Americas
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