IRANIANS "HAPPY" AT THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM HOSEYN

TEHRAN 14 Dec. (IPS) Iranians welcomed the arrest of Saddam Hoseyn, hoping that this would help restoring peace and stability to Iraq and an end to the Coalition occupation of the neighbouring nation.

Mr. Hoseyn was captured in a remote farm, in the Takrit region, few minutes after midnight by a combination of American special forces and Kurd Peshmerga of Mr. Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who is the present president of the American-installed Provisory Council of Iraq.

"This is a good news for the people of Iraq, who suffered most from the ruthless rule of this dictator and was has to hope also that with Saddam Arrested, the Americans would also leave Iraq", Mr. Ali Shakkoori Rad, a representative of Tehran to the Majles said, quoted by the independent news agency ISNA.

"We are happy and thank God" commented briefly Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Defence Minister, the only official commenting the event, more than 12 hours after it had been officially announced.

So far, there are no words from any Iranian official, but news agencies and websites gave the news large coverage.

But expressing the thinking of the conservatives, Hojjatoleslam Taha Hashemi, a cleric close to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic and Editor of the conservative daily "Entekhab" told ISNA that the capture of Saddam had been "pre-arranged".

"The Americans knew where he was hiding, as they know where Ben Laden is. But, because of electoral conditions, they had to wait for the best moment to announce the capture", he said.

However, he hoped that the trial of the Iraqi dictator that imposed a devastating war on Iran for eight years would be an occasion for the world to learn about all the sufferings and crimes he imposed on the Iranians.

Mr. Shakkoori Rad also said Iranian observers must be present at the trial of Saddam, that he said must take place in Iraq itself. ENDS SADDAM CAPTURED 141203