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                                        Volume. 12119

Iran calls claims of al-Qaeda link farcical
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_br4a(6).jpgTEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has vehemently dismissed a Canadian claim that an attack had been planned on the country’s soil with support from al-Qaeda elements in Iran, calling it “ludicrous”. 
 
“This is the most ludicrous thing I have heard in my 64 years,” Salehi told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday. 
 
According to the New York Times, the Canadian police said on Monday that a planned terrorist attack to derail a passenger train was linked to al-Qaeda elements on its soil. It said that there was no indication of state sponsorship by Iran of the suspected conspiracy. But, announcing the arrest of two men, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said that the suspects had received “direction and guidance” from “al-Qaeda elements” located in Iran. 
 
Speaking at his regular press briefing, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the Islamic Republic of Iran never approves of the political and religious mindset of extremist groups, particularly al-Qaeda.  
 
“We are opposed to any kind of violent actions that put the lives of the people in danger,” he said, adding that “the extremist Canadian government has put the Iranophobia project on its agenda over recent years and has pursued hostile measures” against Iran. 
 
U.S. seeking its own interests in the region 
 
At his press conference, Mehmanparast also commented on the fact that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to Reuters, said on Sunday that a $10 billion arms deal planned with Arab and Israeli allies sent a “very clear signal” to Iran that military options remain on the table over its nuclear program.
 
The Iranian spokesman said that U.S. officials are seeking to serve their interests in the region. “It is obvious that the presence of such countries that are seeking their interests in other regions, including the Middle East leads to insecurity. We are seeking the promotion of security in the region.” 
 
Bahrain should listen to the voice of the people 
 
Mehmanparast was also asked to comment on the Bahraini government’s decision to hold the Formula One Grand Prix race on Sunday, despite calls for the event to be cancelled.  
 
“We advise Bahraini officials to listen to the demands of the people and allow them to participate in (determining) their destiny,” he said. 
 
Iran urges Myanmar to prevent violence against Rohingya Muslims
 
Commenting on the appalling conditions that Rohingya Muslims are experiencing in Myanmar, Mehmanparast said, “The government of Myanmar should prevent such acts of violence as it is an international demand, and extremist groups in Myanmar should not be allowed to take such actions.” 
 
He added that the Islamic Republic would make every effort to help improve the situation. 
 
According to the Los Angeles Times, in a report released Monday, Human Rights Watch said Buddhist monks and local leaders have orchestrated a deadly campaign to purge Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state, a coastal area on the Bay of Bengal. The rampant and coordinated attacks amount to crimes against humanity, the rights group said. 
 
EP/PA

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