Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rafsanjani in Syria on Talks with US and Terror Groups

Arabic News:
Upcoming talks between Tehran and Washington on Iraq could, if they turn out to be successful, pave the way for talks on other issues, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted by Al-Hayat daily today.

Speaking exclusively with the London-based daily, Rafsanjani said that the Iran-US talks would only focus on developments in Iraq. READ MORE

Al Hayat, on its website Thursday, further quoted Rafsanjani as speculating that "if Iran and US are satisfied with the outcome of their talks this would encourage them to discuss other issues." "New ways will be created to encourage further talks if the two sides reach a successful outcome in their upcoming dialogue," Rafsanjani was quoted in the website as saying.

But he made it clear that Iran's nuclear case would not be in the agenda of the talks.

As for Tehran-Damascus relations, the cleric informed that the "two sides would continue their cooperation on issues related to Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq." He said that further US pressures on Iran and Syria would only draw them closer than ever.

According to Al Hayat, Rafsanjani was of the view that Saudi Arabia could play an "effective role in lessening tensions between Iran and the US." "Given the wisdom of the Saudi king, we are sure that he can help settle issues in the entire region," Rafsanjani was further quoted by the daily.

Rafsanjani is currently in Syria at the invitation of President Bashar al-Assad. He arrived in Damascus on Wednesday.

Rafsanjani said Wednesday evening that the various Lebanese groups should not let differences of opinion change the country into a battlefield of sectarian conflicts.

At a meeting with Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hizbullah Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Rafsanjani said unity among the different Lebanese resistance groups was the key factor that secured their survival as well as continuation of the struggle against occupation.

On Tuesday, US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Iran "is the central banker for terrorism in the Middle East. It's probably the most significant state sponsor of terrorism around the world. It is a supporter of Hizbullah. It is a supporter of Palestinian rejectionist groups."

Rafsanjani said Wednesday that the situation in Muslim countries including Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon have changed to the confusion of the US.
Meeting with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Secretary-General Ramadan Shalah Rafsanjani said the "US has not succeeded in its hostile policies toward Islamic countries as evidenced by the defeat of their ominous plots through the continued defiance and struggle of Muslim states."

Praising the Palestinian resistance against the occupying Israelis, Rafsanjani said the people of Palestine were currently passing through a very "sensitive" period in their history which calls for all parties to unite in the common struggle to liberate Palestine from the yoke of its oppressors.