送信日時 :2001年 10月 28日 日曜日 7:07 AM
Friday October 26 8:37 AM ET
Iran Says U.S. Paying for Giving Anthrax to Iraq
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chief adviser to Iran's supreme leader, said on Friday the United States was paying the price for supplying anthrax to Iraq, which fought a bitter war with the Islamic Republic in the 1980s.
''They knew anthrax was not a conventional weapon of war, but they supplied it to Iraq ... Now anthrax which they themselves sent to this region is back to haunt them,'' Rafsanjani told worshippers gathered for weekly prayers at Tehran University.
Anthrax has been detected at mail facilities in the United States in a scare that the U.S. government says may be linked to Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 plane attacks on U.S. cities. Western diplomats have said Western companies, wittingly or unwittingly, supplied Iraq with ''dual use'' materials and equipment used in its chemical and biological warfare programs during and after the Iran-Iraq war.
Iraq, which used unconventional weapons against Iran in the 1980-88 war, has denied any link to the U.S. outbreak. Western officials say Iraq produced weapons-grade anthrax in the past, but the State department said this week it knew of no clear link between Iraq and the release of killer anthrax bacteria in the United States.
Rafsanjani, who is chief of Iran's powerful Expediency Council, also accused the United States of trying to monopolize the global war on terrorism, which he said should be led by the United Nations.
''The Americans want to take control and make a monopoly out of the struggle. But they are not qualified for this leadership role,'' the former Iranian president said.
He said Iran, which is predominantly Shi'ite, had never been a friend of the Sunni Muslim ruling Taliban in Afghanistan, but U.S.-led strikes on the country could not root out the ''scourge of terrorism.'' Iran has in the past accused the Taliban of persecuting Afghan Shi'ites.
''We must first understand what pressures cause people to believe they are at a dead-end, that they have got nothing to lose and so become radicals.
It is only by understanding these and going to the roots that we can counter terrorism,'' he said.
''Killing impoverished civilians with cluster bombs is not the way to counter terror.'' Rafsanjani said the United States was trying to trick Muslims into supporting them by announcing its backing for a Palestinian state.
''In order to fool them and buy their support, the Americans say they would support the creation of an independent Palestinian state. If the United States was sincere, why didn't it say this six months ago or last year?'' he said.