Iran seeks India's help vis-á-vis US
24 August 2002
Iran has urged India to convince the United States not to attack it as it is not sponsoring international terrorism and to help arrest deteriorating Iran-US relations, top diplomats said.
The Iranian request came through diplomatic channels to the Indian foreign office less than a week after Iran president Seyed Mohammad Khatami wrote a two-page letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin asking him to stave off an impending American military attack.
Iran fears that the US is preparing for limited military action before the year-end.
US president George W.Bush named Iran in the "axis of evil" alongwith Iraq and North Korea in his state-of-the-union address earlier this year.
The US claims that Iran sheltered key Al-Qaeda activists including Osama Bin Laden's number 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri during the final stages of the Afghan war but Iran denies this.
Iran says it has a long and porous border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and some Al-Qaeda terrorists could have sneaked in with support of fundamentalist groups in the country but that the Iranian government has steadfastly opposed all forms of terrorism.
A small Iranian delegation briefed British and certain European Union governments in London in early August about its state policy against terrorism and released a 10-page factsheet listing Iranian cooperation with international efforts against arms smuggling and drug trafficking.
Germany, Italy and France have advised the US against military action against Iran but the United States is pushing ahead with its plans.
Iran has conveyed its fear to India that as many as nine visits of top US officials to India and Pakistan in eight months signals that the United States may use Pakistan as a base in its military action against Iran.
Iran says it opened its airspace to US warplanes during the Afghan war for three weeks and that it was as opposed to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda as the US is.
The Indian government is tightlipped about its response to Iran's request to intercede on its behalf with the US although diplomats did not rule out the Indian side broaching the subject in talks with the visiting US deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, yesterday.
Indian officials concede that Iran assisted India by disclosing its intelligence of Al-Qaeda plans on Kashmir.
Nidal planned to oust Saddam
Newsnight.net, 28 August 2002
The Palestinian terrorist, Abu Nidal, was working for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, for the last four years and was plotting a coup against Iraqi president Saddam Hussain at the behest of Western powers, top diplomats said.
Nidal was found dead on 20 August in a Baghdad hotel and first reports said he had committed suicide and later ones that he was murdered.
Security experts revealed that Nidal was helped by Mossad on several occasions and allowed to travel with senior Israeli officials as a shoemaker.
Nidal has been accused of masterminding nearly 900 killings of nationals of about 20 countries.
Diplomats said that Nidal possessed nine passports including those issued by Belgium, Austria and Hungary and several carried multi-entry visas valid till 2008.
Nidal was extradited to France in the late 1980s for crimes committed as member of the Palestinian terror group, Fateh Revolutionary Council, but could not be convicted due to lack of evidence.
Mossad secretly moved Nidal to Mainz, Germany, in October 2000 for medical treatment but soon shifted him to Sydney, Australia, where he has no criminal record.
Diplomats say that British and Israeli agencies persevered with Nidal in Sydney to turn against Saddam Hussain.
Nidal apparently agreed and moved to Alexandria, Egypt, and then sneaked into Iraq to plot against the Iraqi dictator.
Iraqi intelligence got wind of his plans and tried to neutralise him.
Security experts said that Nidal was either killed by Iraqi agencies or committed suicide to escape capture.
Copyright © 2002 Newsnight.net
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