U.S. cannot mobilize Arabs against Iran

January 15, 2007
TEHRAN -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said here on Sunday that calls for Iran-U.S. talks at this stage are meaningless and hypocritical.

He made the statement in response to recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had earlier declared Washington’s readiness to hold direct talks with Tehran provided that Iran halts uranium enrichment.

“Iran will continue uranium enrichment in Natanz,” Hosseini told reporters at his weekly press briefing on Sunday. Hosseini said that Rice’s remarks were meant to create tension in the region, adding, “It seems that the U.S. intends to incite animosity between Iraq and neighboring countries instead of restoring peace and security to the country.”

On the U.S. raid on the Iranian consulate in Irbil, Iraq, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the consulate was officially established in 1992 with the approval of both Iranian and Iraqi officials.

U.S. troops stormed the Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11 and arrested six people. According to the U.S. military, one of the Iranians was freed on Friday.

Since the consulate’s activities were authorized by the Iraqi government, the raid was a violation of international and diplomatic regulations, Hosseini pointed out.

Tehran will explore all diplomatic avenues to secure the release of the five detained Iranians but also expects Washington to prevent the repetition of such incidents and to compensate for the damage, he stated.

According to Rice, U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the attack on the Iranian consulate, so it seems that the United States, unfortunately, has failed to learn lessons from the past, Hosseini said. “That is why the U.S. has ignored all analyses and decided to deploy 20,000 additional soldiers to Iraq.”

By launching the raid, the U.S. sought to increase the pressure on Iran, harm friendly relations between Tehran and Baghdad, and divert attention from the failure of U.S. policies in Iraq, he added.

Asked about the U.S. and Israeli plan to form a coalition with regional Arab countries against Iran, Hosseini said that such a polarization is doomed to failure because most regional countries will not sacrifice their friendly relations with Iran to follow U.S. warmongering policies.