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Iran: Foreign Minister Rejects Bush Terrorism Charge

Pretoria, South Africa; 22 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has rejected charges by U.S. President George W. Bush that Iran continues to harbor terrorists. Earlier yesterday, Bush accused Iran and Syria of harboring and assisting "terrorists."

Speaking later in South Africa, Kharrazi said Iran has "not only not been harboring terrorists, but it has been fighting against them."

Kharrazi said he believes the United States is "harboring terrorists because right now every corner of Iraq is controlled by Americans."

Kharrazi accused the United States of supporting armed Iranian rebels operating from Iraq. He said Iran has arrested members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, sent some of them back to their countries of origin, and put some of them in prison.

Bush said countries that continue to harbor terrorists will be held "accountable" and that terrorism undermines the prospects for peace in the Middle East.