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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 13:54 GMT
Iraq exiles back Blair's stance
Iraqi Kurd refugees after the Gulf War
Tony Blair points to Iraqi human rights abuses
Tony Blair is using messages of support from Iraqi exiles to shore up the moral case for his stance against Saddam Hussein.

Downing Street on Tuesday published a letter sent to the prime minister by a group calling itself Iraqi Exiles in the UK.

We are praying that you will stick to your resolve to liberate our country from a dictatorial tyranny

Iraqi exiles group
The message came as Mr Blair said anti-war protesters should take notice of the humanitarian consequences of Saddam Hussein remaining in power.

The Manchester-based exile group said in their letter: "We are praying that you will stick to your resolve to liberate our country from a dictatorial tyranny which over the past 30 years has caused the deaths of nearly two million men, women, sons and daughters.

"We have suffered enough."

Worries

The letter continues: "Today, in the face of so much opposition, we look to you to remain steadfast for all that is decent and honourable, as you already have done.

"The anti-war coalition ignores the terror we have lived under for so long, offers no alternative to our nightmare, can only be construed as supporting Saddam Hussein and helping to maintain his regime indefinitely."

The group also makes clear its opposition to western powers imposing a military leader on Iraq.

It says: "The people of Iraq should be given a chance to form their own democratic government after the liberation of Iraq and in the future."

At his monthly news conference on Tuesday, Mr Blair highlighted how one sixth of Iraq's population - four million people - had gone into exile.

Anti-war protesters have, however, argued a war in Iraq could have disastrous humanitarian consequences.


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17 Feb 03 | Europe
17 Feb 03 | Politics
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