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U.S. Urges Iran Not To Interfere In Iraq Vote

Washington, 8 December 2004 -- The United States today urged Iran not to interfere in the Iraqi elections set for 30 January.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked about fears raised by King Abdullah of Jordan, in an interview with "The Washington Post," that Iran may send thousands of its own people to Iraq to vote in hopes of creating a neighboring Islamic republic there.

McClellan replied that during last month's conference on Iraq in the Jordanian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Iran already promised not to meddle in Iraq's political affairs.

"Iran did make a commitment. It was reiterated in the communique from Sharm el-Sheikh," McClellan said. "We expect them to abide by that commitment. Iraq had talked to Iran about these issues. We've made our views very clear to Iran, as well as others. And we continue to call on Iran to act in a responsible way and be helpful as the Iraqi people move forward on building a brighter future."

A majority of Iraqis are Shi'ites who follow the brand of Islam that predominates in Iran. Iraq's interim president, Ghazi al-Yawir, told "The Washington Post" that Iran's interference is centered in southeastern Iraq, where most of the country's Shi'ites live.

Iran has denied any interference.

Related story:
Russia Casts Public Doubt On Iraqi Elections

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