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US accuses Iran of harbouring terrorists
May 28, 2003 08:40 IST
The United States has accused Iran of taking 'insufficient' steps to check the spread of Al Qaeda.
"We are pressing them (Iranians) not to harbour terrorists," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in Washington.
He was sceptical about Tehran's claim of having checked the spread of terrorist outfits. "We continue to have concerns about the presence of Al Qaeda in Iran," Fleischer said.
He dismissed the Iranian contention that its nuclear programme was meant to meet power needs. "We continue to have concerns that a nation that is awash in gas and oil would seek to produce peaceful nuclear energy," he said.
In New York, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Iran that efforts to try to remake Iraq in Iran's image will be 'aggressively put down'.
"Assistance from Iraq's neighbours will be welcomed," he told the Council on Foreign Relations. "Conversely, interference in Iraq by its neighbours or their proxies will not be permitted."
Meanwhile, state department spokesman Richard Boucher has said the Iranian government did not represent the people of the country.
"There are people in Iran who are calling for a more democratic system, including demonstrators... We side with them in terms of wanting more democracy and more openness," Boucher said.