Iran identifies Al-Qaeda members

Iranian authorities have been able to identify most of the al-Qaeda members held in custody in the Islamic republic, a government spokesman said on Monday.

    Iranian President Mohammed
    Khatami is under massive
    pressure from Washington

    He refused to give the names, positions or numbers of the detainees.

     

    “Given the strength of our intelligence service, most of them have been identified”, Abd Allah Ramezanzadeh told reporters.

     

    Until Monday, Iranian officials had said they were not able to know who was being held and that interrogations were ongoing.

     

    Iranian officials said last month they were holding a “handful” of al-Qaeda members.

     

    Their announcement came after Washington accused the Islamic republic of sheltering al-Qaeda operatives, which it alleged were behind the 12 May bombings in Riyadh.

     

    The bombings killed 35 people.

     

    Meanwhile, Iran continued to respond to US accusations that it was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

     

    Iran’s foreign ministry accused the United States of lying.

     

    “The Americans take positions on Iran that are based on selective and false information”, foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, told reporters.

     

    “Unfortunately, lying has become one of the foundations of United States foreign policy”, he said.

     

    Asefi also reiterated Iran’s refusal to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

     

    The protocol would allow surprise and wider UN inspections to any nuclear facility in Iran.

     

    Iran already allows teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to make pre-arranged visits and inspect its nuclear declared sites.

     

    Asefi said his country would be responsive to demands made within the framework of accords that had been already signed.

    “But for demands that go beyond this, negotiations are necessary”, he said.


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