Iran warns US against violating airspace

Islamic Republic welcomes Obama win as triumph over Bush policies; mixed reactions across Mideast.

By AP, THE MEDIA LINE
November 5, 2008 10:55
2 minute read.
Iran warns US against violating airspace

US helicopter iraq 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Iran's state radio said Wednesday the country's military had warned US forces that their helicopters in Iraq were flying too close to the Iranian border. A statement issued by the Iranian military and carried by the radio Wednesday warned the US that if it did not stop violating Iranian airspace, it would face an Iranian response. The statement follows a US raid last month inside Syria near its border with Iraq that reportedly killed a member of al-Qaida in Iraq who sent foreign fighters into the war-torn country. Iran has criticized the raid and is opposed to the US military presence in Iraq. In related news, Iranians welcomed Barack Obama's victory in the US presidential elections as a triumph over the unpopular policies of President George W. Bush. Iran's official news agency on Wednesday quoted prominent Iranian lawmaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel as saying the Democratic candidate's win over Republican John McCain was evidence Americans were fed up with Bush and his party. The government daily Iran said Obama's win showed that Bush's policy of unilateralism and his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had been a disaster. Other countries in the Middle East greeted the president-elect with mixed responses. The United States' allies in the region were quick to congratulate Obama. The Iraqi government stated it would cooperate with Obama to achieve the joint interests of the two countries. "The government has a sincere desire to cooperate with the elected president in order to achieve the joint interests of the two sides, preserve the security and stability of Iraq, maintain the full sovereignty of Iraq and protect the interests of its people," government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said in a statement. On the other hand, the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the strongest armed rebel organizations in Iraq, has called on the US to change its "dark foreign policy, which has destroyed the world's stability and peace." Another US-backed Middle Eastern administration congratulated Obama on his victory. "I applaud the American people… and hope this election and President Obama's coming into office will bring peace to Afghanistan," President Hamid Karzai told a news conference. President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayyid Al Nahyan, sent a letter to Obama, congratulating him on his victory. In Pakistan, President Ali Asif Zardari sent his best wishes to Obama, adding that he looked forward to working with him. Meanwhile, Iran's protégé in the Palestinian territories, Hamas, has voiced skepticism over any change in America's policy in the Middle East and an end to Washington's hostility toward the Palestinian movement. Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, described the choice between McCain and Obama as one between two "awful options." Before the election results were known, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had announced the movement was "ready for dialogue" with any incoming US president. "We are ready to deal with any presidential candidate, but we will always stick to our rights. We acknowledge that the United States is powerful, but we are more powerful in our territory," Mashaal added.

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