Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters on Sunday that Tehran had drafted a list of charges including use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers.

The United Nations in 1992 declared Iraq as the initiator of the Iran-Iraq war, following which Tehran demanded compensation.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranian troops were killed during the eight-year war, an estimated 40,000 of them by chemical weapons.

The war also devastated many border areas in the west and south-west of the country, including the strategic port towns of Abadan and Khoramshahr.

Asefi also criticised Baghdad for omitting the Iran-Iraq war from the list of charges against the ex-Iraqi president, which cover alleged crimes against humanity spanning three decades of the former government.

Iraq talks

The news came as Iran received Syrian President Bashar al-Asad on Sunday for a two-day state visit expected to concentrate on developments in Iraq and Palestine.

Asad will meet with his Iranian counterpart, Muhammad Khatami, where the handover of power by the United States to the Iraqi interim government topping the agenda.

"Unfortunately, the Israelis are active in northern parts of Iraq and their presence poses a serious threat to Iranian and Syrian security"

Ahmad al-Hasan,
Syrian Information Minister

Khatami on Saturday promised the United Nations his country would fully support the new Iraqi administration.

He also condemned the violence in general and against foreign captives.

When asked if the two sides would discuss their possible role in Iraq with multinational forces, the minister said it was "still too soon to comment on this".

"Any decision should be made within the framework of joint consultations with all the neighbours of Iraq, or in the framework of the Arab League," he added.

Al-Asad, on his third visit to the Islamic republic since taking office in 2000, was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Vice President Abd al-Halim Khaddam and Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara.

Israeli interference

In a separate report, Syrian Information Minister Ahmad al-Hassan told the Iranian state news agency IRNA that Al-Asad would also be discussing the presence of Israeli forces inside Iraq.

"Unfortunately, the Israelis are active in northern parts of Iraq and their presence poses a serious threat to Iranian and Syrian security," he said.

In June, the New Yorker magazine said that Israeli intelligence agents had infiltrated Iraq's Kurdistan and slipped across into Iran to monitor nuclear facilities.

The Washington Post has revealed
Israeli involvement in Abu Ghraib
The magazine said a senior official at the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)confirmed that the Israelis were working in Iraq.

In another, more recent report by The Washington Post on Sunday, stated that Israeli interrogators and intelligence officers were actively involved in the torturing of Abu Ghraib prisoners, according to Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, former head of the notorious prison.

The paper quoted a top US military official as saying he believed Karpinski's claim of possible involvement by Israeli interrogators at Abu Ghraib.

An Israeli official on Sunday has denied that Israel had anything to do with these claims but referred to its people in Iraq as “government contractors and uniformed soldiers”.