Araghchi: Massoud Rajavi is either in Iraq or somewhere in western countries
Press TV, August 03, 2007
link to the full interview:
Iran will be the first to benefit from peace and security in Iraq.
Fri, 03 Aug 2007 20:02:40
By Gareth Smyth, Financial Times
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi
The following is the transcript of an interview that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for legal and international affairs, Abbas Araghchi, has given to UK’s Financial Times.
Financial Times: What is the big obstacle to Iran and the US talking to each other?
Abbas Araghchi: We had no plan to do so, although the Americans were obviously interested ,We didn’t think the theatrical behavior would help with this very complicated situation, and the difficult relationship between the two sides “ We need understanding of each other, and understanding of the situation in Iraq. If the US wants to solve their problems in Iraq, they should understand their mistakes so far.
Their invasion was a disaster – let there not be a double disaster with a disastrous withdrawal. If they have the good will to solve problems, they should introduce an exist strategy, and then there can be a face-saving withdrawal.
FT: So Iraq is the first step to wider progress?
AA: We want to bring stability back to Iraq – this is very important. We are interested in the peace and security of Iraq, its unity, its territorial integrity, that it be at peace with its neighbors. We consider peace and security in Iraq [to be] our own peace and security.
It is very important for us to see that the Iraqi government and Prime Minister [Nouri] Maliki are successful, because â€¦the only alternative is absolute chaos, maybe a civil war or the breaking of Iraq into different pieces.
Iran would be the first to benefit from the return of peace and security in Iraq.
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FT: What do you know about the Americans’ relationship with Pejak, the so-called Iranian wing of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)?
AA: We have some information, and some indication, that contrary to what the Americans claim, there has been some contact with some terrorist groups.
This is why I talked about good will at the beginning. One of the bad policies of the United States is this double standard towards terrorism, to divide terrorists into good and bad terrorists. This is the source of so many problems.
You named one of those groups. We may name others as well – the MKO [the Mujahedin-e Khalq], for example, which is based in Iraq under the protection of the Americans. They are terrorists, recognized by the European Union, by the United States, and they should be sent to trial.
FT: Where do you think [Massoud] Rajavi [the MKO leader] is?
AA: I don’t know. He is either in Iraq or somewhere in western countries, I don’t know, I have no information, no intelligence. But the kind of MKO terrorists we know are either in Iraq or in European countries, and in the US This is very bad. We see that they are doing whatever they want in European countries, in Britain, in France, in Germany. Of course, under the cover of different names, but everyone knows they are the same group.
They killed Americans before the Revolution in Iran, they have killed so many Iranian officials after the Revolution, Iranian people, and they are proud of that. Then they went to Iraq, helping Saddam Hussein in fighting with Iran during the war, then fighting with Shias and Kurds during the 1991 uprising, giving Saddam Hussein intelligence and every assistance. Now they are in Iraq. A good number of them have already been transferred to Europe, but some foot-soldiers – worthless in the current situation – have remained in camp Ashraf.
We have tried hard – from a humanitarian point of view – to help those people in Ashraf camp. We have given them an amnesty if they return to Iran. A group – 500 all together – has already returned to Iran, and they have joined their families. The Red Cross has their records, they know they have started a new life â€¦
If they come back to Iran, they are welcomed by their families â€¦ If they have committed a crime inside Iran, they should be sent to trial, but we know that most of them have done nothing â€¦.
FT: Do the Americans have relationships with other groups that have carried out violent acts in Iran – Baluchi groups, or Arab groups in Ahvaz?
AA: Well, we have some indications. Our intelligence ministry has said they have some indications of contacts between both American and British soldiers in Iraq with this kind of group “
FT: Have you made any estimation of the amount of arms that have come in Iran from Iraq since the 2003 invasion?
AA: I don’t have any figures, but the number is high, as you can see by reading the page of incidents [crime page] of Iranian newspapers â€¦ in almost all of them where a person has killed someone, he says he bought the gun from Iraq â€¦it was so cheap, I got one.
So we have a problem with the number of individuals who buy guns from Iraq.. Terrorist groups as well as criminals see Iraq as an opportunity.
FT: The Americans accuse Iran of supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq, particular kinds of weapons [amour-piercing explosive devices]. Why don’t you counter that by pointing out the amount of weapons coming the other way?
AA: Their claim that Iran is sending arms to Iraq is baseless. They have never been able to present any acceptable documents, valid proof that Iran has sent arms to Iraq. Even some of their own officials have questioned publicly the validity of these claims. The only things they have presented so far is that some arms and munitions they have found in Iraq are manufactured in Iran. This cannot prove anything, it cannot prove the involvement of any agency from Iran.
If governments were to be held responsible for the use by terrorists of all the weapons manufactured in their country, the Americans should be blamed first.
They haven’t been able to provide any valid proof – and there is also no reason. Why should we help them? Why should we arm them? We are suffering from the same problem, terrorism.
Both us and other groups [countries] such as Turkey. This is why in the statement of the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting [paragraph 4], it is said that the transit of arms to and from Iraq should be stopped. This recognizes that there is a problem for neighboring countries, which arms are coming into their countries from Iraq as well.
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