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Iran: Foreign Minister Says Tehran, Damascus Coordinating On Iraq

Damascus, 8 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi says that Iran and Syria have entered what he called "a permanent coordination" to deal with the crisis in Iraq and to strengthen regional security. Kharrazi met today with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Afterwards he said that developments in Iraq and the Mideast make such coordination essential.

Kharrazi is scheduled to deliver a speech at a ceremony later today in Damascus to commemorate the death of leading Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, who was killed in last month's devastating car bombing in the Iraqi holy city of Al-Najaf.

The Iranian minister said Hakim's death was a crime carried out by enemies of Iraq. And he denied U.S. accusations that some of those behind recent attacks in Iraq are from Iran.