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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Not in Iran's interests to reveal names of detained Qaeda agents

 Tehran, Aug 4, IRNA -- Iran on Monday said security considerations    
needed that it did not reveal the names of an unspecified number of   
foreigners, held in custody because of their suspected links to Al    
Qaeda.                                                                
    "As it regards the country's security, we do not see it advisable 
to announce the names of these individuals," Government spokesman     
Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters here.                            
    The official denied reports that Tehran sought to swap with the   
United States some of the detained Al Qaeda members with senior       
elements of terrorist opposition Mujahedin Khalq Organization.        
    "Such a proposal has never been made by the Iranian government,"  
he said, adding "we do not make a deal nor act selectively in         
fighting terrorism".                                                  
    "In our view, fighting terrorism must be put on the agenda of all 
the world governments and there must be no exception about that; nor  
any deal must be made on terrorists," Ramezanzadeh said.              
    Asked whether press reports on Washington's demand on Tehran to   
extradite detained Al Qaeda members to that country were true, the    
spokesman said, "I am really uninformed about details in this regard  
and I am not commenting on that; the government either has not        
discussed such matters".                                              
    "We have no agreement with the American government for the        
extradition of criminals and I don't know if America has really made  
such a request or not," the official added.                           
    Ramezanzadeh said Iran had arrested about 500 foreigners on       
suspicion of links to Al Qaeda so far, with some of them extradited   
to their country of origin.                                           
    "This is a natural process which will continue," he added.        
    In case the detainees are found guilty of acting against Iran's   
national interests, the country's judiciary will decide on their      
fate, the spokesman said.                                             
    The official renewed Iran's denial of any Al Qaeda base in the    
Islamic Republic, saying there were only illegal transits, attributed 
to the suspected terror group's members, in the country.              
    "Wherever we have been able to identify these suspected           
individuals or whenever we have been informed by security services    
of the countries which cooperate with us, we have taken measures to   
arrest and sometimes extradite them," Ramezanzadeh said.              
BH/214                                                                
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