Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Iran: U.S. government denies involvement in plot to overthrow Iranian government

The U.S. government on Tuesday denied claims that it has worked with Iranians in an effort to topple the Iranian government, Xinhua News Agency reports.

"Any charge against an Iranian that he or she is working with the United States to overthrow the Iranian government is baseless," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Reports, quoting an Iranian official, said that four Iranians were accused of involvement in a U.S.-financed plot aimed at toppling the Iranian government. "They were directed by the U.S. State Department and the CIA," Ali Reza Jamshidi, a judiciary spokesman, told reporters in Tehran, adding that the four planned to recruit others into training for anti-Iranian activities abroad.

"In the past, Iran has used similar charges to falsely accuse and detain civil society activists and Iranians working to enhance understanding between our two countries," said the U.S. State Department.

"We urge the government of Iran to adhere to international norms by ending its policy of arbitrarily detaining its citizens or using charges of violating national security as a pretext for targeting any Iranian citizen."

Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State designate Hillary Clinton said that President-elect Barack Obama's administration would pursue a "new approach" toward Iran by engaging it diplomatically.

"We will pursue a new, perhaps different approach," the former First Lady told a congressional hearing, adding that what the current administration has tried toward Iran "has not worked." But she reiterated that the next administration would not allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.

"It is going to be United States policy to pursue diplomacy with all of its multitudinous tools to do everything we can to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state," she said.

The United States severed diplomatic ties with Tehran in 1979 when the Islamic revolution took place in Iran and some 50 U.S. diplomats were held hostage by Iranian students, who occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

U.S.-Iran relations worsened after 9/11 when the Bush administration labeled Iran an Axis of Evil and accused it of developing nuclear weapons, supporting terrorism and radical Islamic fundamentalism.

Source: FOCUS Information Agency
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits