View Full Version : Iranian Foreign Ministers Says 12 Al-Qaida Suspects in Iran to Go on Trial

lucky wilbury
01-23-2004, 11:23 PM

Iranian Foreign Ministers Says 12 Al-Qaida Suspects in Iran to Go on Trial
The Associated Press
Published: Jan 23, 2004

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Friday that his government planned to put 12 al-Qaida suspects being held in the country on trial.
"It's in the process," he told The Associated Press in Davos, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

Asked when the trials would begin, he replied: "That's not in my hands." He said the identities of those to be tried "has not been announced."

The United States said the Iranian plan was not acceptable to Washington.

"We've heard these reports before. It's not new. Our position hasn't changed. We have long made it clear that we believe that Iran should turn over all suspected Al Qaida operatives to the United States or to countries of origin or third countries for further interrogation and trial," said State Department deputy spokesman J. Adam Ereli.

Kharrazi disagreed. It's "our right to put on trial anyone who has committed crimes in our territory," he told reporters. "So this is our legitimate right to try them inside Iran."

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi confirmed for the first time in July that Iran was holding "a large number of small and big-time elements of al-Qaida" who had illegally crossed the border.

In September, Iran gave the U.N. Security Council the names of 225 suspected al-Qaida operatives it detained and returned to their home countries.

U.S. officials have said intelligence suggests that al-Qaida figures in Iran include Saif al-Adl, a top al-Qaida agent possibly connected to May bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Abu Mohammed al-Masri, wanted in connection with the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998; Abu Musab Zarqawi, whom some U.S. officials describe as the key link between al-Qaida and toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein; and al-Qaida head and mastermind Osama bin Laden's eldest son, Saad.

The al-Qaida operatives are believed to have fled to Iran from neighboring Afghanistan during the Taliban's fall in late 2001 or early 2002.

Kharrazi also welcomed what he called the positive role the European Union has played in the nuclear controversy, adding that the bloc might be able to help in improving Iranian relations with the United States.

"Of course the European Union can play a role. They may have a better understanding of Iran being closer to Iran. At the same time, they have only good relations with the United States."