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IraqSide:Developments
Iran Factor
Iranian Denials Continue
UN Ambassador, Former President Reject Allegations
02/15/2007 1:42 PM ET
Iran's UN ambassador Javad Zarif denied that the Iranian government was interfering in Iraqi affairs. In an interview with WNET's Charlie Rose, Zarif said that the relationship between Tehran and Baghdad was “excellent,” and he accused Washington of seeking a “scapegoat’ in Iraq by “forging documents behind closed doors.” The UN ambassador declared that it was not in Iranian national interests to weaken the Iraqi government. (Source: IRNA)

Earlier in the day, Iran’s former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani similarly denied accusations of Tehran’s interference in Iraq. In a live debate on al-Jazeera with influential Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusif al-Qaradawi, Rafsanjani said, "We do not ever want to interfere in Iraq's affairs ... Others should not interfere either," and added that "Iraqi people should take care of their own affairs.” (Source: AFP)

With their statements the two men join a growing list of high profile Iranian figures who have publicly defended Iran's role in the region against the backdrop of US accusations of supplying arms to Iraqi militias.

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