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Iran Denies Links With Al Qaeda

Tehran also accuses Washington of a double standard in the fight against terrorism.

May 29, 2003|From Reuters

TEHRAN — Iran on Wednesday denied U.S. allegations that it has links with Al Qaeda and secret atomic facilities, and accused Washington of a double standard in the fight against terrorism.

U.S. officials have accused Tehran of not doing enough to root out members of Al Qaeda in Iran who may have played a role in suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia this month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said suspects were still being questioned and it was not clear whether they include senior members of Osama bin Laden's network who may have known about the attacks in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Tuesday that the arrests had not defused U.S. concerns that senior Al Qaeda members were still in Iran.

Asefi said: "On the contrary, we believe America is not serious about fighting terrorism. It adopts a double standard policy in confronting them, which shows its indecision in dealing with terrorists."

Iran has expressed concerns that the United States has not dealt firmly with Tehran's main opposition threat, the Iraq-based People's Moujahedeen militia, despite the fact that it is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Washington has also accused Iran of interfering in neighboring Iraq after the war there.

In addition, U.S. officials want the International Atomic Energy Agency to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Iran says its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity and that it has revealed all its nuclear facilities.

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