Bush using Iran as scapegoat for failure in Iraq, says spokesman
Iran on Tuesday accused US President George W Bush of using Iran as a scapegoat for the failure of his policies in Iraq.
`Bush`s policies in Iraq have failed and he is now using Iran as a scapegoat and accusing us on various pretexts, but the fact is that even inside the United States such charges are no longer accepted,` Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said in an interview with Khabar news network.
US officials on Sunday released information they said proves that Iran has been funnelling weapons to militants in Iraq responsible for attacking US soldiers.
Bush has said the US will take action in Iraq to protect its soldiers if Iran is found to have a hand in militant attacks.
Hosseini categorically denied the latest US charges as `absurd and baseless.`
`What the US government considers as proof was not even acknowledged by their own Congress,` the spokesman said.
Hosseini said Iran would have no interest in escalating the crisis in Iraq as any insecurity and tensions there would severely affect Iran and other neighbouring as well.
`Iran`s main aim is to return stability to Iraq to prepare the ground for the expansion of political and commercial relations,` the spokesman said.
He referred to the Iranian proposal to hold a regional conference on Iraq`s security at foreign ministry level as proof of Iran`s efforts to help the Iraqi government to curb tensions and terrorist operations.
`But what the US aims to do is tarnish Iran`s image within Iraq and out of despair. Even our diplomats are kidnapped,` he said, referring to the detention of staff members at the Iranian consulate in Arbil, northern Iraq, by US forces and the kidnapping of a diplomat in Baghdad for which Tehran also blames the US.
Iran`s National Security Council head Ali Larijani said Sunday at the international security conference in Munich that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would be the only option not only for returning peace and stability to Iraq but also decreasing terrorist operations in that country.
Tehran was asked last week by Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al- Hakim to open a dialogue with the US on Iraq.
The Iranian government has not ruled out such talks but demanded the US withdrawal as one of the main preconditions. - Deutsche Presse-Agentur