Campaign against Terrorism: Rumsfeld Accuses Iran of Taking in Al- Qa'ida Chiefs
Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)
DONALD RUMSFELD, the American Secretary of Defence, has accused Iran of giving refuge to senior al-Qa'ida and Taliban commanders fleeing allied action in Afghanistan.
His comments came as he and other US officials were striving to back up an assertion made last week by President George Bush that Iran, Iraq and North Korea together formed an "axis of evil" that threatened peace in the West.
Among those defending the foreign policy passages of the President's annual State of the Union address to Congress was Colin Powell, the Secretary of State. "I saw the speech before it was delivered ... and I fully supported that line," he said.
Even some of America's closest allies, including Britain, have voiced some anxiety at the harshness of President Bush's verbal assault on the three countries. Yesterday, Russia accused Washington of using double standards in its view of the world. While Moscow has been criticised for seeking closer economic and political links with both Iraq and Iran, it has noted that the West was less than emphatic in condemning Chechen terror attacks when they were committed against Russian targets.
Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Defence Minister, told a conference in Munich: "Not many people in the West like the fact that we have some commercial ties with the countries which you describe as rogue states. "Well, we don't like ... some of your allies like Saudi Arabia or Gulf states who give finance to terrorist organisations."
Mr Rumsfeld said he was backing up a report in Time magazine due out this morning suggesting that Tehran gave comfort and shelter to more than 250 al-Qa'ida and Taliban leaders who crossed the border from Afghanistan into Iran during November. …