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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 20:26 GMT
Iran MPs attack minister over Iraq
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi (R) meets Iraqi counterpart Naji Sabri in Tehran
Kharrazi (r): Working to avoid another war in the region

Impeachment proceedings have begun against Iran's foreign minister following a meeting last week with his Iraqi counterpart Naji Sabri.

Afghan refugee in Mashhad, Iran
A war may well mean Iraqi refugees flee to Iran
A group of MPs have submitted a letter to the parliament's presidium board requesting that Kamal Kharrazi be impeached for welcoming a senior official of a regime still regarded as acting against Iran's national interests.

Mr Sabri made a surprise visit to Tehran last week to discuss the ongoing crisis in Iraq.

He met top officials, including President Mohammad Khatami.

Sensitive time

The motion, signed by 100 members of parliament, gives 20 reasons why they think Mr Kharrazi should be impeached.

The visit created the impression that Iran was supporting [Iraq's president] and trying to help him get out of international isolation

Lawmaker Noureddin Pirmoazzen
The main points are to do with the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. They include the failure of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to apologise to the Iranian people and to implement fully the UN resolution which in effect ended that war.

The motion lists the issues of prisoners of war and compensation, both of which have never been cleared up.

The MPs also claim that by meeting an Iraqi representative at such a sensitive time, Mr Kharrazi has created the suspicion that Iran supports Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Defending his position at a news conference in Tehran, he said the best way to defend Iran's national interests and to prevent a war in the region was through diplomacy.

Blossoming ties

He added that it did not mean Iran supported the Iraqi regime but showed their increasing involvement to try and end the conflict peacefully.

Relations between Iran and Iraq have recently started to improve.

Last year, Mr Sabri visited Tehran twice, most recently in September, when he appealed to Iran to oppose US military action.

While Tehran officially opposes any American attack on Iraq without UN approval, it has aided opposition groups seeking to topple Saddam Hussein.


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