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February 24, 2003

Iran Fears U.S. Aims to Reshape Mideast

Follow the bouncing rhetorical ball in this article Iran is worried that the U.S. unsettling the region, and though Iraq ought not have WMD, the U.S. doesn't play even-handed. The U.S. allows Israel to have WMD. Left out, however: Iran is rushing to develop WMD.
[...] Iran voiced greater fears on Sunday that the United States aims to reshape the Middle East by launching a war against its old enemy.

Iran would deploy troops along its western border to stop any incursions if the United States unleashed war on Iraq, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Reuters. But he said Iranian troops would not cross into Iraq.

Although President Bush a year ago bracketed Iran in an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea, the Iranian minister said he did not fear his country would be next in the U.S. firing line even though Washington is already locked in crises with the others.

Kharrazi said Iraq must be stripped of weapons of mass destruction but voiced anxiety about what he called a hidden U.S. agenda in the region.

"Basically we do not agree with the plan of America that the Middle East has to be reshaped. This is the job of the mature people of the Middle East, not powers from outside," he said.

"The status quo is better for us than the unpredictable situation," he said.

While Washington says its objective is to disarm Iraq and restore human rights in a country ruled by a dictator, a wide swathe of world opinion suspects the U.S. motives lie in Iraq's vast oil fields.

Kharrazi said the United States had let the Palestinian problem fester by extending support to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and said Washington was operating double standards by allowing Israel to maintain its weapons of mass destruction.

The United States had made a strategic error by naming Iran in an "axis of evil," Kharrazi said, adding that his country was democratic and its policy was to be transparent over its plans for nuclear energy. [more]