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Iran challenges European gov'ts over Hamas killing
March 1, 2010 18:33
At UN, Mottaki warns of Western double standard when dealing with terror.
Former Iranian foreign minister Manoucher Mottaki.

Mottaki has a fit 311 187. (photo credit:AP)

GENEVA — Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki challenged Western countries Monday to admit whether or not they had helped Israeli "terror brigades" assassinate a senior Hamas terrorist, saying their silence was undermining calls to fight terrorism.

Mottaki told the UN Human Rights Council that the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Austria and Ireland must answer questions about their role in the killing of Hamas terror chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, whose body was found in his room at a luxury Dubai hotel on January 19.

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Naming the countries because the alleged assassins used forged copies of their passports, Mottaki said "their security services, the intelligence people or a part of their governments" may have been involved.

"It seems that the terror brigades of the Zionist regime, which were very active in the 1970s and 1980s, are once again revitalizing and becoming active," Mottaki told journalists through a translator. "What are Western countries doing? What is the relation of Western countries with this terror and assassination?"

Israel's UN mission declined comment. The French Foreign Ministry in Paris said Mottaki's accusation was "not credible" and deserved no comment.

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British Foreign Secretary David Miliband met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last week to express "the profound concern that exists not just in Britain, but all over Europe" over the counterfeit passports.

He said eight forged UK passport were used in the Dubai assassination.

Dubai authorities have blamed Israel for al-Mabhouh's slaying.

The reaction of European nations has come under scrutiny as many of the alleged assassins flew from Europe to Dubai, and then returned to Europe after the killing. Authorities there have declined to say if they are investigating, or argue they have no reason to hunt down the 26 suspects implicated in the killing.

A number of experts say their reluctance is related to the belief that the killing was carried out by the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, which had identified al-Mabhouh as the point man for smuggling weapons to the Gaza Strip's Hamas leaders.

Britain, France and Germany are investigating only the alleged use of forged passports. Only Austria has gone further and investigated whether Austrian SIM cards were used, with Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia saying there is no indication of a "command center" in the Alpine country, as Dubai police have claimed.

Mottaki said Western countries were in a tough situation, accusing them of adopting a double standard by which they condemn terrorism in other parts of the world while supporting terror committed by friendly governments.

"They should adopt a stand and a position," Mottaki said.
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