This Sam Ghandchi sounds like a REAL SOCIALIST!
Iran admits regular contact with Chalabi
Monday May 24, 2004
Julian Borger in Washington and James Sturcke
The strange decline in relations between the US military and its one-time Iraqi ally, Ahmad Chalabi, took a new twist yesterday when Iran admitted having had regular dialogue with the former Pentagon favourite. The authorities in Tehran - and Mr Chalabi - were quick to deny suggestions that he had handed US secrets to Iran.
But an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, told reporters that Tehran had maintained "continuous and permanent dialogue with Chalabi and other members of the Iraqi governing council". He added that spying charges were "unfounded and baseless".
Mr Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said the accusation that he leaked secrets to Iraq's neighbour was a "smear" orchestrated by the CIA director, George Tenet.
Mr Chalabi, whose fall from grace with the Bush administration was symbolised by a raid on his Baghdad home and office last Thursday, appeared on a string of US news programmes to denounce the espionage allegations against him and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim.
"We never provided any classified information from the US to Iran - neither I nor anyone in the INC," he told CNN. "That is a charge being put out by George Tenet. I say let him bring all his charges, all his documents. We will bring all our charges and all our documents to the US Congress, and let Congress have hearings and resolve this issue."
He said Mr Karim, who is being sought by the Iraqi police, would also give sworn testimony to Congress.
Today's edition of Time magazine reports that US officials are being investigated for passing state secrets illegally to the INC, and that US intelligence has "hard" evidence that Mr Chalabi met a senior officer of Iran's ministry of intelligence and security in Iraq.
Anti-war sentiment has been simmering in Iran, particularly with the US attacks on Shia holy sites in Iraq, and yesterday some 500 protesters rallied for the fourth time in little over a week outside the British embassy in Tehran.
The crowd of mostly hardliners threw firecrackers and tomatoes at the embassy and called for the ambassador, Richard Dalton, to be expelled.
Riot police with batons and shields prevented the students from getting close to the main gate of the embassy. About a dozen people were arrested as police tried to disperse the crowd. About 100 of the demonstrators staged a sit-in in front of the embassy.
The British embassy has been the focus of protests as the US has no diplomatic presence in Iran.