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Britain, Iran Discuss Anti-Terror Effort - 2001-09-25


Britain says it is willing to share with Iran evidence about Afghanistan and suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, who is the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks in the United States.

But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he was not in Tehran to pass on any request from the United States or any military request. Mr. Straw spoke to reporters between meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and President Mohammed Khatami.

The British official said he and Mr. Kharrazi discussed the approach needed to deal with terrorism, and he called Iran an important source of advice on Afghanistan. Neither side gave details of the meeting between Mr. Straw and President Khatami.

Iranian leaders later held an emergency meeting of the country's Supreme National Security Council. Iran's news agency says the body discussed the latest developments in the region and made the necessary decisions to safeguard Iran's security and interests.

Iran, listed by Washington as a sponsor of terrorism, has strongly condemned the terror attacks on New York and Washington. But it has also voiced concern that U.S. military action in neighboring Afghanistan could lead to an even greater humanitarian catastrophe.

Meanwhile, 210 members of Iran's 290 seat parliament issued a statement expressing condolences to the American people for the terror attacks on September 11. The statement went on to say that retaliatory military action in Afghanistan is not an appropriate response.

Mr. Straw was the most senior British official to visit Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. He said the visit was aimed at deepening understanding between the two countries.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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