TEHRAN 15 Apr. (IPS) Iran condemned the assassination of one of its diplomat in Baghdad, attributing it indirectly to the Americans that, in the words of the official spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, "with their silly occupation of Iraq, they have plunged the nation, the region and the world into chaos".
"The chaos, the blood shed in Iraq and the violence out there are all the fruits of foolish American policy in the region and Washington's approach to terrorism", commented Hamid Reza Asefi.
Mr. Khalil Na'imi, the press and cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad was shot dead early this afternoon by unknown assailants as he was driving near the Embassy's compound in the Haifa Street, sources at the Embassy said and confirmed by the official news agency .
This is the first time that an Iranian diplomat is assassinated in Iraq, where colleagues from Spain, Turkey and other nations had been targeted before.
The diplomat was killed as Tehran, on request from Britain, has dispatched a five-member diplomatic mission to Baghdad to mediate between the Americans and Shi'a and Sunni militants fighting them in cities and localities situated north and south of the Capital controlled by either Sunni or Shi'a militants.
An identified source from the Iranian Embassy in the war-ravaged Iraqi capital said the assassination was the work of "people who do not want see Iraq finding peace and stability" and did not rule out the possible connection between the murder of Mr. Na'imi and the Iranian peace mission, headed by Mr. Hoseyn Sadeqi, the Head of the Persian Gulf and Arab Department of the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
"The chaos, the blood shed in Iraq and the violence out there are all the fruits of foolish American policy in the region and Washington's approach to terrorism", commented the Iraqi-born official Spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry Hamid Reza Asefi.
Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroobi, the Speaker of the Majles also blamed the Americans and like Mr. Asefi, called on the "occupation" forces to get out "the soonest possible" and hand over the administration to the Iraqi people.
Asked about the Iranian peace mission, Mr. Karroobi said Iran has "strong influence" in Iraq and "it is normal that we do out best to restore peace" in the neighbouring nation "with which we have traditional bounds".
Mr. Sadeqi told correspondents that he was awaiting order from Tehran to whether carry out his mission or pack and go back to Iran, as the most important part of his efforts was to meet Hojjatoleslam Moqtada Sadr, the young Shi'a cleric who started the last round of violence.
Accused of the murder of another cleric last year, Mr. Moqtada who is now hiding in a sacred shrine in Najaf announced yesterday that he would obey the higher religious authorities and disband his Mahdi Army, transforming it into a political party.
Mr. Na'imi was killed in his car hours after Sunni captors shot dead a young Italian they had captured last week with three others while freeing three Japanese hostages and a French cameraman.
So far, there are still 40 foreigners at the hands of groups fighting American forces and their allies. ENDS IRANI DIPLOMAT SHOT 15404