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Senators Debate Next Move on Iran

May 26, 2003|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Iran's government Sunday denied U.S. allegations that it is harboring Al Qaeda members as U.S. lawmakers debated whether the Bush administration should increase pressure on Tehran.

Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran's U.N. ambassador, said his nation has arrested a number of terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda and other groups. "Iran has been extremely active and extremely stringent in its policy against Al Qaeda, and we will continue," he said on ABC's "This Week."

Zarif was responding to allegations that an Al Qaeda cell in Iran may have played a role in the May 12 bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed 34 people.

Zarif's remarks came as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Iran may be ripe for a change of rulers because youths are "getting tired" of the Islamic government.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that while he thinks "a regime change in Iran" would be good, "I'm not suggesting military action."

Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va.) said any effort to stir up a popular uprising in Iran would be "foolhardy" and hinted that a positive development related to Iran was imminent.

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