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Iran Rejects Charges Of Interference In Iraq

27 July 2004 -- Tehran today rejected allegations by Iraq's interim Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalan that Iran is fomenting violence in Iraq.

Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh told AFP the Iraqi official's remarks are "contrary to the official messages we get from Baghdad, and it is even contrary to comments made by [Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi."

Ramezanzadeh said Iran does not consider al-Shalan's remarks to reflect "Iraq's official position."

Al-Shalan said in an interview with the U.S. daily "The Washington Post" that Iran remains his country's "first enemy."

The minister said in the interview published yesterday that he had seen "clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran."

He accused Iran of taking over some Iraqi border posts and sending spies and saboteurs into Iraq.