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Bakhtiar says Khomeini regime to fall soon

Shahpour Bakhtiar, the late Shah of Iran's last prime minister, predicted in an interview published Saturday that the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini would collapse soon, and accused Iran starting its 16-month-old war with Iraq.

Bakhtiar told the Kuwaiti daily As Siyassah that he could not predict when Khomeini's rule would come to an end, but said, 'Khomeini will not last long.'

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'There will be pools of blood, more than those (seen in Iran) now,' the Paris-exiled opposition leader said.

He also criticized the anti-Khomeini groups led by former Iranian President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, also living in France, as 'the opposition of the moment.'

Bakhtiar said that Khomeini and his supporters were responsible for stirring up trouble in Iraq and accused Iran of starting the 16-month-old war between the two Gulf neighbors.

'Khomeini was the one to start trouble inside Iraq and to meddle in its internal affairs,' he said.

'(Khomeini) started to send money to the mullahs (Shiite religious leaders) in Iraq,' As Siyassah quoted Bakhtiar as saying.

He said the war 'would end within two weeks and an understanding would be possible with Iraq if there was someone other than Khomeini on (top of) the regime.'

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He said that one reason Khomeini wanted the war to continue was 'because when the army is free it will head to Tehran and topple him.'

In other developments, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati condemned the U.S. veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for sanctions against Israel for its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.

Tehran Radio quoted Velayati as saying, 'the right to veto enjoyed by the superpowers is a betrayal of small nations.'

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