Iraqi opposition welcomes likely US strike

Nov. 19, 2001 at 3:47 PM
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TEHRAN, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- An Iraqi Shiite opposition group on Monday ruled out the likelihood of an imminent attack by U.S. forces, but welcomed would-be strikes targeting Iraq's "terrorist regime."

Ayatollah Mohammad-Baqer Hakim, the head of the Iran-based Islamic Revolution Supreme Assembly of Iraq, told United Press International "the Iraqi people would favor any (U.S.) attacks if they lie within the framework of the existing U.N. resolutions supporting the Iraqi people and if they are targeted at the terrorist regime (of Saddam Hussein)."

However, Hakim said given the present situation in the Middle East, and the lack of international consensus concerning the "issue of Iraq", the United States does not appear ready to take action against Iraq.

He claimed the Iraqi people and its troops would "topple the regime if they are effectively supported by the international community rather than being hampered to do so."

Iran has been host to the supreme assembly since the beginning of Iran and Iraq's eight-year war in 1980.

The presence of opposition groups in each country has acted as a major stumbling block to the normalization of relations between the neighbors.

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