Iran says it will not share its
intelligence on suspected al-Qaida members with the United States, in spite of
several requests from Washington.
Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh says his country will not
share the requested intelligence because Iran does not have any relations with
the American security services.
He was speaking a day after U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage
said U.S.-Iran relations will not improve until the Tehran government shares
intelligence about al-Qaida members it says it has captured crossing into the
Islamic Republic from neighboring countries.
U.S. officials have accused Iran of sheltering al-Qaida members linked to
bombings in Saudi Arabia in May in which 35 people were killed, including nine
Americans. Iran denies cooperating with al-Qaida.
Iran has said it will not heed a U.S. request to extradite al-Qaida suspects
to their countries of origin or to the United States.
Tehran reported to the United Nations that it has already caught and extradited
more than 200 suspected al-Qaida and Taleban members who crossed into Iran
from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last two years. But Tehran says it is
holding on to some additional suspects it wants to try for crimes against Iran.
The United States rejects such moves, insisting Iran should hand over all
al-Qaida members to the United States, or extradite them to countries where
they are suspected of having committed crimes.
The Iranian spokesman, Mr. Ramazanzadeh, said Wednesday it is up to Washington
to take what he called practical steps if it wants to improve U.S.-Iranian
Diplomatic relations were severed shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Low-level talks have been held from time to time since then, and there have
been cultural exchanges. But there has been no concerted effort to restore
normal ties, as Washington calls Iran part of an axis of evil, and Iran calls
the United States the great Satan.
Iran expert Ahmed Menissy, chief editor of Iran Digest, says any warming
in U.S.-Iran relations seems unlikely anytime soon.
Mr. Menissy said Iran is not willing to let the United States determine who
is a terrorist suspect. In addition, he says there is the question of millions
of dollars in Iranian assets frozen in the United States after the Islamic