Straw has 'warm and constructive' talks in Iran

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw kicked off his ground–breaking trip to Iran with what he said were "warm and constructive" talks with his opposite number, Dr Kamal Kaharrazi.

After an hour–and–a–quarter of talks in the Iranian capital, Tehran, Mr Straw told reporters that he had told his opposite number about the feelings in the United States about the September 11 terror attacks, and the psychological impact on America of such an enormous atrocity.

He and Dr Kaharrazi had also spoken of "the prospect of military action against Osama bin Laden and his al–Qaida organisation if the Taliban Government continued to give them shelter".

Mr Straw also gave his first reaction to reports that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had cancelled a planned meeting with him because of his trip to Iran.

Mr Straw said: "I fully understand the sensitivities in Israel, the fact that they have to live with the almost daily consequences of brutal terrorism and their sensitivities about other nations in the region.

"We have judged that developing a broader based international consensus following the attacks on September 11 is of huge importance, however, to this region as a whole and world peace more widely."

Mr Straw also welcomed reports that Saudi Arabia had cut its links with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, saying: "If it is an accurate report, I welcome it. It is a welcome move."

The Foreign Secretary said he had used his talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister to discuss the threat of terrorism and the importance of acting against the environment which helped to create it.

But he stressed that he had not discussed Iran having any military involvement in action against Afghanistan.

He also stressed that he was not carrying to the Iranians any messages from the United States Government, nor was he taking any message back for Washington.

Mr Straw reiterated that both US President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had been concerned to act with deliberation and care in putting together the anti–terror coalition.

Comments