U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says there is no question that Iran has permitted al-Qaida terrorists to enter the country.
Mr. Rumsfeld also said Tuesday that Iran has not turned over any Taleban or al-Qaida reportedly arrested there to the United States.
Mr. Rumsfeld made the comments after word that Iranian President Mohammad Khatami pledged to never allow Taleban or al-Qaida terrorists to take shelter in Iran.
Mr. Khatami told reporters during a Tuesday visit to Afghanistan that Tehran has arrested several terrorists and sent them back to their home countries. Iran said it recently handed over 16 al-Qaida suspects to Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Khatami also accused Washington of creating a "war-like" atmosphere around the world since the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. Without mentioning U-S threats of possible military action against Iraq, Mr. Khatami said "no country should use the fight against terrorism to force its views on other countries."
Mr. Khatami was in Kabul for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Iranian president promised to help re-build Afghanistan. Last week, the Iranian parliament approved 500-million dollars in re-construction aid for its war-shattered neighbor.
The talks in Kabul marked the first time an Iranian head of state has visited Afghanistan in four decades.
Afghan President Karzai, whose government depends heavily on the United States for its survival, said Afghanistan is thankful to America for its help in fighting terrorism and grateful to Iran for accepting Afghan refugees.