BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 00:51 GMT
Iran urges caution on Iraq
Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq war
The Iran-Iraq war lasted eight years

Any "mistakes" in handling the Iraq crisis will risk a clash of civilisations, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has said.

In Islamic communities... everyone is suspicious to the real intention behind all of these war drums

Kamal Kharrazi
Iranian foreign minister
He said he would use talks with UK leaders on Thursday to seek ways of avoiding war in Iraq and persuading Baghdad to comply more fully with UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr Kharrazi repeated that if any further measures were to be taken against Baghdad as a result of non-compliance, those measures must be decided and taken by the United Nations, not unilaterally.

People in the Islamic world were suspicious about the intentions behind the proposed war, he said in the speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

No love lost

Dr Kharrazi made it clear that his country had no particular love for Iraq.

Iran, he said, had been the target of Iraqi military aggression during the 1980s; Iranian citizens had been victims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

But he repeated Tehran's opposition to war and its intention not to support either side should a conflict erupt.

The Iraq crisis, he insisted, must be handled through the United Nations.

Tehran would condemn any unilateral action by the United States or Britain.

Dr Kharrazi spoke of the importance of continuing consultations.

Suspicion

The current situation, he said, was critical.

"That is exactly the deep concern that we have - that this war may lead to a clash of civilisations," he said.

US Marines in the Kuwaiti desert south of Iraq on 1 February
Tehran is opposed to unilateral action
"The reason is the suspicion which prevails in the Islamic world about the real intention behind this war - if it is the question of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime, or it is the question of the whole Middle East and the Islamic world?

"In Islamic communities in that part of the world, you find that everyone is suspicious to the real intention behind all of these war drums."

Dr Kharrazi stressed that Iran supported the idea of a democratic system emerging in Iraq in the future.

However, he said, such changes should happen as a result of action by the Iraqi people themselves, rather than being imposed by force from outside.


Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

23 Jan 03 | Middle East
29 Jan 03 | Middle East
10 Sep 01 | Middle East
26 Sep 01 | Middle East
05 Oct 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes